Emanuel Torres, a TSTC Mechatronics Technology student, prepares wiring for a motor-controlled panel during a recent lab session.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – U.S. Navy veteran Emanuel Torres developed a connection with Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus when he was a teenager.

“I went on a field trip to TSTC when I was in middle school,” he said. “A program that we visited was Precision Machining Technology. I had the opportunity to input a program into a (computer numerical control) machine … and the process attracted me.”

Now Torres is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in TSTC’s Mechatronics Technology program.

“It’s very similar to my former job in the military, where I was an electronics technician for six years and a supervisor for around three years,” he said. “My (TSTC) instructors have prepared me with knowledge and skills to be a technician in various areas such as PLCs (programmable logic controllers), hydraulics or robotics. It directly translates to different jobs as our career progresses.”

Torres’ fascination for working with mechanical devices started at an early age.

“I enjoyed taking objects apart as a child, but had difficulty getting them to work again,” he said. “As I grew older, I got better at it.”

Torres is getting plenty of hands-on experience at TSTC.

“My favorite assignment is working on a motor-controlled panel with the intent to control a motor,” he said. “I enjoy it because it ties in with the job I had in the military. What’s appealing about the project is not only the wiring aspect, but I have to learn on the spot how to find out what’s going to work. There’s a possibility that I may have to take everything down and restart. It’s intriguing.”

Carlos Reyes is TSTC’s Mechatronics Technology program director.

“Emanuel has demonstrated above-average skills in maintenance, circuit analysis, troubleshooting and repair, and basic design of circuits and programming,” he said. “He is a disciplined individual and can be a great candidate for a supervisory position.”

According to onetonline.org, electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians earn an average of $62,970 a year in Texas. The website projected that there would be a 14% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Mechatronics Technology at the Harlingen campus.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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