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TSTC Graduate Profile: Marisela Ferrer

September 25, 2020 by Naissa Lopez

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Succeeding in a predominantly male field is nothing new for Marisela Ferrer. After taking welding courses in high school, the Beasley native wanted to further her skills in another surprising industry, and she chose to attend Texas State Technical College to receive a certificate in Diesel Equipment Technology. The 20-year-old is ready to get to work and has proven that she is not afraid to get her hands dirty.

Why did you decide to pursue Diesel Equipment Technology?

I took welding courses in high school. Welding is a male-dominated field, and it showed me the perspective of entering a male workplace. While I enjoyed the work, I enjoyed proving people wrong more. I then decided to prove a point by getting my degree.

Do you have any favorite TSTC memories?

My favorite memory is when I was a part-time worker. We had on-campus events, and the other programs got to interact with one another. We had a water dunk tank and snow cones. The staff and I participated in the dunk tank.

How has TSTC helped prepare you for your career?

They helped me by showing me what day-to-day scenarios would be like in a real-life situation. I was given a lot of insight on jobs and what to be aware of.

Did you face any challenges on your journey to graduation?

The most challenging thing that happened on the road to graduation was becoming a mother and having to balance new parenthood while having schoolwork.

What has been your greatest sense of accomplishment to date?

Despite all the hardships and setbacks of working full time and being a parent, I managed to get my certificate before age 21.

What words of advice would you give to others who are about to start their journey at TSTC?

Take the experience seriously, and attendance is key. While the campus is fun and offers a lot to do, don’t get too distracted.

To learn more about TSTC, visit

TSTC alumna becomes instructor to share passion for surgical technology

September 25, 2020 by Naissa Lopez

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – After completing the Surgical Technology program at Texas State Technical College in 2002, Yolanda Ramirez worked as a surgical technologist for seven years. Then, in 2009, she decided to bring her knowledge and refined skills back to TSTC to help educate future generations of surgical technologists.

She discussed her time working in the field, as well as how her experience is now helping students in the classroom.

“I decided to become an instructor because I enjoy teaching,” she said. “I wanted to share my passion for surgical technology with others.”

Ramirez’s skills in the classroom are beneficial for her students, but her work experience is something that allows students to receive genuine insight from someone who has already had a career outside the program.

“I was able to get experience in various specialties,” she said. “I started my career in obstetrics and gynecology, and then transitioned to the main operating room, where I specialized in neuro and cardiothoracic surgery. I believe my operating room experience has helped shape me into a better instructor. I am not only able to teach students about surgical procedures they can find in their books, but I can also share my personal experiences with them.”

Ramirez said that getting to utilize both of her passions, surgical technology and teaching, has made her career that much more meaningful.

“I enjoy being able to get the best of both worlds,” she said. “I still get to go into the operating room and watch my students be part of surgical procedures. Watching my students grow while they are in the program, seeing them learn and absorb all the new skills and techniques, and watching them set up and perform a surgical case with minimal assistance, are all steps I get to see. It is so rewarding to watch them grow throughout the program and become successful surgical technologists in the operating room.”

The joy she receives from her career is evident.

“I love that we are a vital part of the operating room team,” she said. “We are able to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful surgery.”

To learn more about TSTC’s Surgical Technology program, visit

TSTC gifts graduates during Grad Swag Pickup

September 25, 2020 by Naissa Lopez

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Some enthusiastic Texas State Technical College summer 2020 graduates recently made their way back to campus to celebrate their achievement with a Grad Swag Pickup. They drove up to a designated area to receive a diploma cover, as well as a TSTC-branded face mask and yard sign.

“We are proud of our students and wanted to recognize this accomplishment beyond our virtual graduation,” said Larissa Moreno, a coordinator of new student orientation and activities. “We gifted them with a yard sign that says, ‘I’m a Proud TSTC Grad!’ and a ‘TSTC Strong’ face mask because that is what they are — strong.”

The event exemplified how TSTC cares about its students’ success even after they receive their diplomas or certificates.

“Our students should be proud of their accomplishments,” Moreno said. “For some, graduation was the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. We were there to encourage them and cheer them on.”

Enrollment management senior staff assistant Lisa Garza reiterated that students appreciated the effort from TSTC staff.

“I truly believe our students appreciated that we put the time and effort into making this experience memorable for them,” she said. “I honestly was not sure what the attendance would look like, but I was amazed with the 100-student turnout.”

Moreno said that it was not just students who showed up at the event to celebrate.

“We saw mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and best friends in the cars that came through with their phones ready to capture this moment,” she said. “(Some had) tears in their eyes, excited conversations with our provost about their new jobs, and just genuine appreciation for TSTC.”

Garza echoed the statement.

“It was such a fun and rewarding experience to see graduates come by with their loved ones,” she said. “Families were even recording their graduates receiving their goodies. It was two hours of cheering, laughing, clapping and happy tears.”

To learn more about TSTC, visit

Visual Communication Technology at TSTC invites creativity

September 25, 2020 by Naissa Lopez

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College has embraced remote learning, and despite studying off campus, students are still assured the same hands-on guidance that TSTC provides to students studying on campus.

Department chair JJ Vavra discussed the fundamentals of TSTC’s Visual Communication Technology program, its benefits, and what students will learn during their five semesters in the program.

How does Visual Communication Technology differ from Digital Media Design?

Both Digital Media Design and Visual Communication Technology help to train graphic design professionals. Digital Media Design concentrates on multimedia, video and photography in the last three semesters, and Visual Communication Technology concentrates on a very specific realm throughout the entire program: advertising using the print medium.

What can students expect to learn in this program?

The Visual Communication Technology program specializes in training students to become professional graphic designers. Students also learn to work in real-world collaborative groups and scenarios just like working creative professionals.

Will students receive the same support that TSTC is known for?

Of course. TSTC is known for its hands-on learning and mentoring and has adapted to the change in the industry very quickly. Even though our modality is online, our program has created a face-to-face-like environment. Every class has a “live lecture” hour once a week.

What are some characteristics that students should have to succeed in the program?

Creativity, consistency, problem-solving skills, and a desire to constantly learn. Something you may have created last year may not be how you would design it this current year. This process is ever changing, and as long as you are humble enough, you can embrace new ideas from others.

Why do you believe Visual Communication Technology is a great option for students?

The most appealing features of our program are creativity, technology and experience. For those who dream of using their artistic abilities for a living, the program offers many opportunities. Students gain experience from faculty, who are industry experts; with design software as they learn to create logos, layouts and publications for class assignments; as well as with internships. Our online program provides an affordable and accessible path to employment.

To learn more about Visual Communication Technology at TSTC, visit

TSTC Welding Technology Student Acquires New Skills

September 23, 2020 by Daniel Perry

(WACO, Texas) – Emily Sanford did not pick up a welding torch until she was a student at Madisonville High School in East Texas. During that time, she did a lot of gas metal arc welding.

“I was raised around 4-H and FFA, but it was not welding at all,” she said. “None of my family are welders. I got introduced to it my freshman year of high school.”

Sanford said that she was not sure what she wanted to do after high school. But, she said her agriculture teachers played a role in convincing her to visit Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus and apply for the Welding Technology program.

“I have not regretted my decision at all,” she said.

One of the instructors she met on her campus tour was Carl Wilmeth, a lead instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program.

“Emily projects self-confidence, authority and enthusiasm in all things that she has done here at TSTC,” he said. “I would be thrilled to have more students like her in the welding program. Emily shows strong self-management in all her welding objectives.”

Sanford chose TSTC because of its affordability and Welding Technology program classes in automation and metallurgy. She also liked the college’s Money-Back Guarantee program, which enables students who sign up with Career Services during their first semester in five selected programs to participate in workshops. If the students do not have a job in their field within six months of graduation, they receive back their out-of-pocket tuition.

Sanford also wanted to learn tungsten inert gas welding while at TSTC.

“It is a cleaner process.  It might cost more in materials,  but you can make more money with it,” she said.

Sanford is scheduled to complete classes this fall for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology. In the spring, she plans to study for an advanced structural and pipe welding certification.

After graduating from TSTC and entering the workplace, Sanford said she wants to become a certified welding inspector, become an instructor or own her own business.

“Her training, coupled with her interest in learning, the attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile to get the job done, are all qualities that the welding industry employers are looking for,” said Richard Larson, an instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program. “She will be a great success in whatever career path she chooses in the welding industry.”

Texas had more than 50,000 brazers, cutters, solderers and welders making an annual mean wage of $46,940 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Such jobs are projected to increase to about 452,500 by 2029, according to the agency.

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