Cynthia Morley (left), a TSTC Advocacy and Resource Center coach, shows Lionel Del Rio, a TSTC Biomedical Equipment Technology student, some of the products that are available to choose from in the Advocacy and Resource Center’s food pantry at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – With its “culture of caring,” Texas State Technical College’s Advocacy and Resource Center has made a lasting impression on many students, and the staff’s commitment has helped them to focus on their studies.

Three of those students, Jose Abrego, Hector Guzman and Rus Lenox, each experienced personal obstacles that led them to request service assistance from an Advocacy and Resource Center coach.

Abrego, of Harlingen, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Architectural/Civil Drafting Technology at TSTC’s Harlingen campus. He was struggling to make ends meet with the rising costs of food and other household necessities.

“I’m a single father, and I had difficulty trying to focus on my studies,” he said. “Miss Morley (Cynthia Morley, a TSTC Advocacy and Resource Center coach) eased my concern with the food pantry service. She also contacted me on different occasions to make sure that I was doing OK. I appreciate that she cared.”

Morley said the food pantry service is free for all students.

“Our team assists students who are food insecure by offering snacks, nonperishable food, and personal hygiene items,” she said. “We believe hunger should not be an obstacle for students who are reaching their academic goals.”

Guzman, of Cleveland, Texas, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus. He commutes 70 miles each way three days per week to attend his classes.

“Classes for the Welding Technology program begin at 9 a.m., and I leave my home by 6 a.m.,” he said. “Then I commute back to my hometown after classes finish.”

Larissa Moreno, an Advocacy and Resource Center coach at the Fort Bend County campus, helped Guzman find help for some of his travel expenses.

“Hector met the requirements for a transportation stipend,” Moreno said. “That criteria consists of being enrolled in at least six credit hours, maintaining a 2.0 GPA, attending face-to-face classes, and driving 20-plus miles one way to campus.”

Rus Lenox, of College Station, is studying for a certificate of completion in Structural Welding at TSTC’s Marshall campus but did not have money available to pay for tools and other items needed for classes.

“I was able to check out a crescent wrench and other tools (from the lending library),” Lenox said. “The work that TSTC’s Advocacy and Resource Center does for students is amazing. I’m employed as a work-study in their office and assist with the food pantry service.”

Lee Killingsworth, an Advocacy and Resource Center coach, said the lending library has an inventory of textbooks and tools for most of the programs at the Marshall campus.

“We also offer complete welding and diesel tool kits for students to use while they are enrolled at TSTC,” he said. “Our objective is to remove any barriers to education for our students.”

Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is underway. For more information, visit

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