Olivia Montalvo is an Aircraft Powerplant Technology student at TSTC’s Harlingen location

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College student Olivia Montalvo is a person who enjoys keeping herself busy. When she is not practicing martial arts, she is working on airplane engines in the Aircraft Powerplant Technology program at TSTC’s Harlingen location.

Montalvo, who is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree, first sparked an interest in aviation through her father.

“When I was a teenager, my dad enjoyed watching old war movies,” she said. “Throughout our home he had aircraft models. I loved how they looked. My curiosity went from there. I wanted to know how airplanes functioned. I started to watch aviation videos on social media.”

A few years later, Montalvo began to think about college.

“I knew I wanted to study aviation at TSTC,” she said. “But I never knew there was a job where people can work on an airplane’s engine. I researched the college’s website and came across the aviation maintenance program. I met with an enrollment coach who said the program was hands-on. So I enrolled.”

Montalvo said her program experience has been riveting.

“I’ve been motivated to learn more about an airplane’s engine and anything else,” she said. “At first it was an adjustment to get used to the hands-on assignments. Now I’m improving my problem-solving skills.”

Leo Guajardo is the program team lead for TSTC’s aviation maintenance program in Harlingen.

“Olivia approaches hands-on training with a genuine interest and a commitment of self-improvement,” he said. “She sheds the burden of challenge and replaces it with excitement and creativity.”

Currently in her third semester, Montalvo’s motivation has led to early preparation where she will test for an aircraft powerplant Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) license.

“As long as I put my mind to it, I know I’ll do well,” she said.

According to onetonline.org, aircraft mechanics and service technicians in Texas earn an average of $67,680 a year. The website projected that there would be a 16% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.

TSTC offers Associate of Applied Science degrees and certificates of completion in both Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology at its Abilene, Harlingen and Waco locations.

Registration for TSTC’s summer and fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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