(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College alumna Dolores Garza, of McAllen, is a new TSTC Auto Collision and Management Technology instructor for the spring 2022 semester at the Harlingen campus
She is one of many women who are having great success in a technical career.
Garza’s passion for the industry and education is infectious.
“Mr. (Jose) Vasquez (also an instructor in Auto Collision and Management Technology at TSTC) is aware of my work ethic and requested that I apply,” she said. “It quickly became second nature on my second day.”
Garza brings five years of auto body industry expertise from companies such as Hacienda Ford in Edinburg, Hacienda Collision Center in McAllen and Bert Ogden Motors in Mission.
She earned a certificate of completion in Auto Collision and Management Technology at TSTC in March 2016. In addition, she added to her portfolio four platinum certifications from the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR).
Garza instills perfection and creativity when engaging with her students.
“I am proactive and allow my students to initiate their assignments,” she said. “I do this to educate them on what needs to be correct and how they can be creative. This is what is expected in the industry.”
Garza’s interest in auto body repair was piqued when she attended McAllen High School, even though she was not enrolled in the school’s program in the subject.
“I have always enjoyed making vehicles look great,” she said. “I prepped, painted and sometimes assisted with body work for mechanics at my home. I then made the decision to enroll in the Auto Collision and Management program at TSTC.”
While enrolled as a TSTC student, the program allowed her to gain experience as a full-time auto body paint prepper and helper with Hacienda Ford.
“I knew an employee who worked for the dealership,” she said. “I mentioned that I placed in the top 10 in refinishing in the SkillsUSA national competition. This was in 2016 at the time. The manager requested to schedule me for an interview. That is how I started in the auto collision industry.”
She added that she will always credit TSTC for her success.
“This institution provided me with an education,” she said. “I was blessed with a full-time job opportunity while I was a student. Now I am back continuing my pursuit of happiness.”
Her long-term goal is to own an auto body shop where she can continue to practice her art.
Automotive body and related repairers can make a yearly median salary of more than $43,000 in Texas, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website. The number of these jobs in the state is expected to increase 11% by 2028.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Auto Collision and Management Technology, with specializations in repair and refinishing, and certificates of completion in Auto Collision Refinishing and Auto Collision Repair.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.