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TSTC Hosts Counselor Update

January 18, 2020 by Daniel Perry

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus held its annual Counselor Update on Friday to kick off the new year.

“It just gives them a chance to see what is going on if they are new,” said Trey Pearson, TSTC’s North and Central Texas regional director for student recruitment. “For those returning, it’s keeping our relationship strong.”

More than 30 area school counselors learned about TSTC’s technical programs and new initiatives.

The counselors were told about TSTC’s Performance-Based Education initiative beginning this fall with the Cybersecurity and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technology programs. Students in these programs can take course lessons at their own pace to create flexibility in their learning.

The counselors watched members of the first cohort of Bombardier’s Aviation Apprenticeship Training program work in their specially designed lab on the first floor of the Jim Pitts Industrial Technology Center. The cohort is the first of 250 people taking 180 days of training at TSTC and at the company to produce the Advanced Metallic Wing for the Global 7500 aircraft at the company’s Red Oak plant.

Megan Bloedel, a college advisor at McKinney North High School, said Friday’s event was the first time she had been to TSTC.

“I liked the different programs there were and partnering with different industries,” she said.

Bloedel said the technical program that piqued her interest was Diesel Equipment Technology, which teaches students about engine repair, hydraulics, steering and suspension systems and other topics.

Allison Knott, a Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) coordinator at Cedar Hill High School, said she was interested in the need for HVAC technicians and the skills taught in the Computer Aided Drafting and Design Technology and Industrial Systems programs.

“I’m always super impressed when I come to TSTC,” Knott said.

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TSTC’s Workforce Training to Offer Solar Energy Class

January 17, 2020 by Daniel Perry

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Workforce Training department will host a continuing education class on solar energy from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, in the South Building on the Marshall campus.

“We have a lot of people in East Texas that can make use of solar energy to power up remote areas on their property,” said Dirk Hughes, TSTC’s executive director of Workforce Training in Marshall.

Using solar energy means low water usage, long-term price certainty and energy security, according to the Texas Solar Power Association’s Texas Solar Industry Overview released in March 2019. More than $4.5 billion has been invested in solar projects in Texas, according to the trade association.

“We are seeing solar growth in all parts of the state,” said Charlie Hemmeline, executive director of the Texas Solar Power Association in Austin. “Our data point is that in the SWEPCO Texas service territory covering part of East Texas, installed solar capacity increased more than 20 percent in 2020, growing from 984 mW to 1,192 kW. East Texas has a good solar resource, and it makes sense that residents would look to take advantage of it.”

Hughes, a registered professional engineer, will teach the course. The cost is $75 and includes a combination of lecture and hands-on training. To register, contact TSTC’s Workforce Training department at 903-923-3442.

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TSTC Culinary Arts Instructors Prepare for International Contests

January 14, 2020 by Daniel Perry

(WACO, Texas) – Two instructors in Texas State Technical College’s Culinary Arts program enter 2020 preparing for international competitions.

Chef Michele Brown is a member of the Agricultural Culinary Team Manitoba taking part in the IKA/Culinary Olympics in February in Stuttgart, Germany. Brown will handle the team’s pastry arts.

Brown said she is at the point in her preparation to test how to style four different kinds of petit fours on plates. She will also spend time working on the detailed aspects of her desserts, including cocoa painting.

“It is about what makes more sense,” Brown said.

Once in Germany, the team will do final preparations at a kitchen they have arranged to use. 

“It is stress from the 13th of February to the 17th of February, then relax,” Brown said.

Chef Mark Schneider will compete at the Food & Hotel Asia (FHA) Food and Beverage 2020 in early April in Singapore. Schneider was selected to take part because of his membership in the Epicurean World Master Chefs Society.

Schneider started a stringent training schedule last week, with a combination of preparing ingredients and kitchen equipment along with cooking. He plans to use his competition dish twice for upcoming special events and most likely make minor changes up to the contest.

Schneider has also been doing research on Singapore’s cuisine. He will create a seafood dish for the competition, using local fish and some ingredients that are seasonally available.

“It’s a jump from doing anything in the U.S. or Europe,” he said.

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TSTC’s Challenger Learning Center Offers New Programs in 2020

January 08, 2020 by Daniel Perry

(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Challenger Learning Center in Waco is preparing to take you to Mars starting this spring.

The center will offer the new “Expedition Mars” mission, said Jeremy Hagman, the Challenger Learning Center’s coordinator. Groups can make reservations now for the mission, which will enable participants to learn five phases of living on Mars.

“The concept is the same,” said Nereida Balli, director of Pre-College Programs, which include the Challenger Learning Center. “There is mathematics and science involved, and STEM information and activities the students are needing to get.”

Pre-K to fourth-grade students can take part in “Pre-Supply,” the revamped Atomnaut Academy that is accepting bookings now, Hagman said. An Atomnaut Academy can accommodate up to 28 students alternating between five stations.

“The kids help pack up and plan the mission,” he said. “They adopt an astronaut of their own and prepare the mission. This is more mission-focused.”

Balli said the Atomnaut Academy will prepare students to see what they can expect in doing missions once they reach fifth grade.

The Challenger Learning Center will continue to offer the “Rendezvous With a Comet” mission for students.

The Challenger Learning Center served more than 300 students in the fall in Waco, Hagman said. More than 1,000 students visited the center in 2019.

“We are getting a lot of new business from the local schools,” he said. “It is about community-building. We are here to support their students.”

The Challenger Learning Center is the third of its kind in Texas and is affiliated with the not-for-profit Challenger Center for Space Science Education in Washington, D.C. TSTC’s Harlingen campus is also home to a Challenger Learning Center.

The center’s purpose is to bring the planets to life for students. Visitors attend a short mission briefing and then divide into groups to work in Mission Control and a working laboratory. Activities are focused on communication, critical thinking, leadership and science.

The Challenger Learning Center honors the astronauts who died Jan. 28, 1986, when a booster engine failed on the Challenger space shuttle launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The initiative was founded that year by the families of the seven astronauts tragically killed.

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Spirit of giving: TSTC helps student avoid homelessness

January 03, 2020 by Amanda Sotelo Sotelo

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – From one day to the next, Texas State Technical College student Josephine Delgado faced homelessness. But TSTC was there to make sure that did not happen.

Delgado said that the Sunday she lost the security of having a roof over her head began as a fun day. She headed to church without a care in the world.

But when she got home, her life turned upside down.

“I lived with my sister in an apartment only down the road from the college,” she said. “It was a perfect setup. But without warning, my sister relocated to Corpus Christi with her children.”

Delgado had recently earned her associate degree in Business Management Technology at TSTC and was finishing up a few extra classes. She found herself worrying about where she would live, how she would pay for it, and how she would get to school and work if she had to move back to her former home in San Perlita more than 30 minutes away.

“I was panicking. I only had one day to find a new place. I had no car, so moving home was not an option,” said the 23-year-old.

Immediately Delgado put a phone call in to some friends and mentors at TSTC Student Life and Engagement, where she was a student worker.

She was advised to speak to TSTC housing and student support representatives to take a look at her options.

“Without the help I received from TSTC, and so quickly, I don’t know what would have happened,” said Delgado. “But as quickly as I lost my home, TSTC helped me find another.”

TSTC assisted Delgado with scholarships and grants to get her settled into her new home on campus.

The scholarships and grants awarded to Delgado came from donations contributed to TSTC’s employee giving campaign.

Employees can select to give to the Stephen & Susan Snyder Helping Hands Scholarship and to scholarship funds.

The type of housing assistance Delgado received, along with the student food pantry and emergency aid, fall under the auspices of Helping Hands.

The TSTC Foundation Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations Jennifer Colten said a recent study identified that 72% of students at TSTC’s Harlingen campus are in critical need of financial assistance, making employee contributions important.

“The Harlingen campus has the greatest percentage of economically disadvantaged students,” she said. “And if we can give students immediate assistance with things such as housing, which is such a gift.”

As for Delgado, her time as a student at TSTC will come to an end next spring. But she hopes to return to TSTC as a full-time employee so she can help others the way she has been helped.

“I am so thankful for TSTC. Because of the help I received, I was able to finish my education,” she said. “The culture at TSTC is one of service and support for their students and employees. And I want to be a part of that and help make a difference in someone’s life the way TSTC has made a difference in mine.”

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