TSTC programs receive upgrades, thanks to grant

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Thanks to a grant from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, the Emergency Medical Services and Dental Hygiene programs at Texas State Technical College received some welcome additions to better serve students.

Upgrades include adding top-of-the-line equipment to the real-world setting of the Dental Hygiene program, as well as an indoor ambulance simulator for the Emergency Medical Services program.

TSTC senior field development officer Richard Mesquias explained that the process of obtaining the simulator began with the desire to add a few technological improvements to the programs.

“The idea was to add another emergency medical services simulator,” he said. “We are deeply grateful to the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation for enabling us to enhance our Dental Hygiene program and our Emergency Medical Services efforts. Both programs were provided additional equipment to expand their labs in an effort to prepare students for the workforce.”

TSTC Associate Provost Jean Lashbrook said that the ambulance simulator is an additional way for the programs to ensure that TSTC students experience thorough and realistic training before entering their careers.

“We are always on the lookout for best practices in how our students can get a real-life feel of what will be expected and experienced in the field,” she said.

Emergency Medical Services program director Dan Forbing reiterated the statement.

“The simulator is very close to working in a real ambulance, all the way down to the dashboard,” he said.

The grant not only covered the simulator itself, but also the special flooring needed to allow for realistic road conditions.

The Dental Hygiene program was first introduced at TSTC in 1996, and much of the resources that students had been using were from that time frame.

Updates to complement the program include a new lab, radiology chair, radiology digital scanners, and a disinfection and sterilization system.

Dental Hygiene instructor Victoria Martin is thankful for the upgrades in the program.

“We provide patient care in our clinic,” she said. “Just like going to your doctor or dentist’s office, you want that place where you get treatment to look nice and clean. With new equipment, we are not only able to modernize our program, but also produce students with advanced technical skills.”

The new technology is another way that TSTC is giving students beneficial experience that will allow them to make a difference in their communities, something that the foundation strongly believes in.

“The Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation invests in healthy initiatives that will improve the health and quality of life in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Bernadette Perez, grants associate for the foundation. “We want to address health-related needs and close the skills gap in the Rio Grande Valley area specifically. It is important that the students are receiving all of the education that will fully prepare them to go into the workforce and make a difference in our area.”

The updates to both programs will allow TSTC students to do just that.

“I like being able to train students so well that they go out into the field absolutely confident,” Forbing said. “Our new equipment is a huge benefit to our students.”

To learn more about programs offered at TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

Photo: TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez (left) and Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation Executive Director Judy Quisenberry (right) during the check signing ceremony at TSTC on August 10, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Texas State Technical College.)