(WACO, Texas) – Two students at Texas State Technical College are scheduled to be the first ever to graduate with degrees in the college’s newest Auto Collision and Management Technology specialization at the upcoming Fall 2023 Commencement in Waco.
Bryam Herrera, of Rosebud, and Carlos Rincon, of Jacksonville, Texas, are on track to receive Associate of Applied Science degrees in Auto Collision and Management Tech – Repair Specialization Co-op. The degree is affiliated with the Collision Engineering Program backed by Enterprise Holdings and Missouri-based Ranken Technical College.
“I feel like a proud mom,” said Jannifer Stimmel, an instructor in TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program. “It’s been rewarding watching them learn. They really enjoy working.”
Herrera and Rincon began classes in fall 2021 at TSTC. Some of the topics that the students have learned in the program include automotive plastic and sheet-molded compound repair, collision repair welding, estimating, structural analysis, and vehicle hardware.
Students in the co-op program take classes and work at program-approved collision repair businesses or dealerships. Program students are required to work with mentors at the businesses.
Herrera worked at Apple Sport Ford in Marlin, where he has learned in-depth about automobile door skins, frame rails and roofs.
“It’s all about learning the ins and outs of each make and model,” he said. “Even though they are different, they have similarities.”
Herrera said he has learned while working at the dealership about the importance of getting work done correctly the first time.
“You will definitely need time management,” he said. “In the field you need to be faster to get the vehicle out on time, if not before.”
Rincon works at Joe Hudson’s Collision Center in Waco, where he has learned how to replace quarter panels on frames.
“It is good learning the basics on campus and putting the work in action at work,” he said.
Rincon said he and Herrera are lucky to have worked with good mentors.
TSTC’s Waco campus is among seven technical colleges in the country affiliated with the immersive apprenticeship training program. Stimmel said students interested in the program need to be self-motivated, have a willingness to work, be good with time management and be on time.
Three other students in the first cohort are scheduled to graduate in spring 2024.
“The fact that we all get along has helped us complete our work,” Rincon said. “We hold ourselves and each other accountable.”
TSTC’s Fall 2023 Commencement is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the BASE at Extraco Events Center in Waco.
Potential students interested in the co-op program can go to beacollisionengineer.com for more information. The next cohort will start classes in fall 2024.
Registration is underway for the spring semester at TSTC. For more information, go to tstc.edu.