TSTC Welding Technology student Gustavo Guerrero (left), Surgical Technology student Joana Yanez (center) and HVAC Technology student Nathaniel Alvarado are first-generation Hispanic college students who are gaining a hands-on technical education at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Pursuing a postsecondary education is a life-changing choice for many individuals that can lead to a better life — especially when that mastery in technical skills begins at Texas State Technical College.

This year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. It is a celebration of the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the social fabric and achievements of the United States.

The month is also a chance to highlight young people like Nathaniel Alvarado, Gustavo Guerrero and Joana Yanez who are first-generation Hispanic college students at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.

Alvarado, of Weslaco, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in HVAC Technology. The first-semester student said he is learning the foundation of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry.

“My mother has emphasized why pursuing a college education is important,” he said. “I plan to grow my knowledge in this program, graduate and help the community. I would also like to expand my education and study building construction so I can become a well-rounded technician.”

Guerrero, of Rio Hondo, is studying for a certificate of completion in Welding Advanced Pipe Specialization. The fourth-semester student said his father has been a role model in his upbringing.

“My father has always been a motivator in my life and in my education at TSTC,” he said. “He wants me to focus on my assignments, improve at my craft and strive to be a professional welder.”

Guerrero said he is proud of his heritage.

“My fellow classmates and I are a percentage of the Hispanic population who want a better life and a high-paying job,” he said.

Yanez, of San Benito, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology. The first-semester student said her interest in the medical field comes naturally.

“I’ve been around a medical setting since I was young,” she said. “At San Benito High School, I completed four years of medical classes. I love to learn.”

David Campos, interim provost for TSTC’s Harlingen campus, said the value that Hispanics bring to the Texas workforce is immeasurable.

“The current generation of Hispanic students will add a stronger impact on the Texas workforce due to the opportunities of technical education in specialized and emerging technologies for which there is a huge demand,” he said.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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