TSTC Alumna Encourages Females to Pursue STEM Fields

(WACO, Texas) – Tiffani Cortez’s advice is simple for females figuring out what careers they want to pursue after college.

“Always try new things,” said Cortez, a graduate of Texas State Technical College. “Don’t let anyone tell you something is ‘for females.’”

Cortez teaches engineering classes at the Harmony School of Innovation in Waco and works after school with students on robotics. She is an advisor for the school’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Cortez is also an adjunct instructor in Baylor University’s Interior Design program.

Her teaching goal is to have students do things they have not done before.

“I figured them having a role model and being successful in the area could encourage females to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields,” Cortez said.

More than 30 percent of women pursuing STEM degrees in college switch majors, according to the Society of Women Engineers. And, only 30 percent of women earning bachelor’s degrees in engineering are still working in the field 20 years later, according to the organization.

Cortez grew up in Rosenberg and graduated in 1998 from Lamar Consolidated High School. She said she enjoys the art and mathematics sides of architectural drafting and design.

Cortez has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Architectural Drafting and Design from TSTC’s Waco campus.

“She has always set goals for herself and accomplishes them systematically to keep herself in a constant state of progression,” said Chris McCauley, an instructor in TSTC’s Drafting and Design program. “I am very proud of all that she continues to accomplish, and the positive impact she has on this community and in the lives of her own students throughout each passing year.”

Cortez also has a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology from Tarleton State University. She is currently working on a master’s degree at Texas A&M University.

Before entering the teaching profession, Cortez worked in Central Texas Iron Works, engineering department using 3D modeling software to make digital models of steel structures and components.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.