(WACO, Texas) – Ethan White, of George West, is working on associate degrees in Instrumentation Technology and Electrical Power and Controls at Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus and is scheduled to graduate in summer 2022. He is also an online tutor at TSTC, working with students in Instrumentation Technology classes.
White, a graduate of George West High School, already has a job offer from Phillips 66’s Gray Oak Central Terminal in Three Rivers. He is scheduled to start work as an instrumentation and electrical technician in August 2022.
How did you choose TSTC and your programs of study?
I had a cousin that went through the Instrumentation Technology program about 10 years ago at TSTC and is making good money. My dad has a good friend working for NuStar Energy as a manager, and he is a graduate of the program. I got to see some of the things they work on out in the field.
During my third semester at TSTC, we had a company come in and explain the design side of using AutoCAD to design electrical diagrams. I talked to an instructor, and he said to get both (associate degrees) if you can because it can open so many doors.
Instrumentation has been great so far. Every class has been very interesting. It is something new every day. That keeps it interesting. I will start Electrical Power and Controls classes in the spring.
How did you learn about Phillips 66?
It was fall 2020, and I took part in TSTC’s Virtual Industry Job Fair, and there was only one company I signed up to talk to, and that was Phillips 66. I introduced myself and talked about my GPA and TSTC. They sent me an email that they wanted another interview. That one was more behavioral and situational questions. Then they wanted to do a technical interview with me. This is when they offered me the internship at Phillips 66 in Borger, Texas, for summer 2021.
What did you do during your internship?
I actually followed a mentor that works there as an instrumentation and electrical technician with Phillips 66. I shadowed him the first couple of weeks for training on safety. After those two weeks, they let me loose with my mentor. Any job that he had, I would go with him. I could not touch anything on the electrical side, but I got to work with some programmable logic controller programming. I got to manipulate some of that and work on physical PLCs and work on wiring. It was awesome. I worked 40 hours a week.
What motivates you?
Before, the end goal was to get a good job out of college. I have done the internship and have been offered the job, and it has put a fire under me. It gets me going every day. There are times where we get a workload and it is hard to want to sit there and study, but that keeps me going.
What advice do you have for high school students?
Get into something that really interests you. Don’t be afraid to ask people questions. Do your research. Choose something that you can see yourself doing for a long time. Coming into college, be prepared to study. In college, there are no retakes on tests. Once you make the grade, it’s in the grade book.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Instrumentation Technology and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Power and Controls, both of which are available in Waco.
For more information, go to tstc.edu.