Photo caption: TSTC Drafting and Design alumna Mariela Ramirez now works for Garver, an engineering, planning and environmental services firm. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – It is captivating to marvel at what inspires a child’s creative curiosity and observe them draw that in a sketchbook.

For Texas State Technical College Drafting and Design alumna Mariela Ramirez, that talent for drawing began at an early age.

“I found a connection to architecture when I watched the TV show ‘How I Met Your Mother,’” she said. “The character Ted Mosby appealed to me because his job was an architect.”

After high school, Ramirez attended a college program fair at TSTC’s Harlingen campus. Her conversation with instructors in the Drafting and Design program motivated her to enroll at TSTC.

The Harlingen resident earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Drafting and Design from TSTC in 2019.

Prior to graduating from TSTC, Ramirez performed an online search to fulfill a drafting internship that was needed for her degree plan. Her search led her to Garver, an engineering, planning and environmental services firm with offices nationwide.

“I came across Garver, and their website was attractive,” she said. “The images of various hands-on projects were compelling — especially the company’s location in Harlingen. I applied and was hired as a part-time intern.”

Ramirez proved herself and in 2019 accepted a job as a full-time computer-aided drafting technician at Garver. She was promoted to a water infrastructure design center civil 3D design team leader three years later.

“One of our company’s clients is the city of Harlingen,” she said. “As a team leader, my duty is to ensure that the city’s pipe connections for water and wastewater are treated correctly. Overall, I ensure that the city has clean water.”

She added that the company’s work culture is motivating.

“There is something new to learn every day,” she said. “The work is engaging, and my teammates are very helpful. I’m thankful because I have a great supervisor who praises my skills.”

Ernesto Flores, a water infrastructure design center manager for Garver, said Ramirez’s drive to succeed was immediately on full display.

“At the start of her career, Mariela possessed a superb level of professionalism, communication and pride in her work,” he said. “Garver’s culture is focused on connectedness and collaboration. She understands that communication is a key driver for the success of any project.”

Ramirez credits her career success to TSTC.

“My instructors gave us group projects that were beneficial because you work with a team,” she said. “My classmates and I encountered that same concept of industry deadlines, but with our assignments. Those projects entailed doing a presentation that was based on our vision. The instructors emphasized the importance of meeting deadlines and asking questions.”

Samuel Pizano, a TSTC Drafting and Design instructor in Harlingen, said Ramirez was very inquisitive and made sure her assignments had minimal errors.

“Mariela had a great eye for detail and was meticulous in nature,” he said. “She demonstrated a commitment to her passion, and that’s reflective of her success in the industry.”

Ramirez recalled a favorite class assignment that involved a graphic information system.

“That assignment had a global positioning system,” she said. “We had to survey the outside of the building where our labs were located. Each group collected map coordinates, and those were imported into the GIS (geographic information system). The purpose of that project was to create a map for prospective students to find their way around the Harlingen campus.”

Ramirez hopes to continue on a career path at Garver.

“Garver is a marvelous company that encourages career growth,” she said.

Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

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