(WACO, Texas) – Eli Alvarez, of Hutto, grew up working on cars with his father. That interest led him to Texas State Technical College with an automotive scholarship in hand.
Alvarez is one of five recipients nationwide to receive a $10,000 scholarship from Pep Boys’ Find Your Drive initiative. He is in his first semester in the Automotive Technology program.
“I was pretty speechless,” he said upon finding out that he had received the scholarship. “It has helped out a lot with my schooling.”
Joseph Strange, an instructor in TSTC’s Automotive Technology program, said earning the scholarship is a start in Alvarez’s promising career.
“He knows what he wants to do in his life, and he is going to do it,” Strange said.
Alvarez is working toward an Automotive Technology – Chrysler Specialization certificate of completion. Though just a few days into college, Alvarez said he made the right decision coming to TSTC.
“I love it,” he said. “I am around people who have the same interests as me. It’s great to be around them.”
Students who are accepted to TSTC can apply to the Automotive Technology – Chrysler Specialization program. Program students take seven weeks of classes on campus and work seven weeks at Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram, Fiat or Alfa Romeo dealerships while at TSTC.
Alvarez began work in May at Mac Haik Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Georgetown. He will work there on weekends and during each semester.
His career goals are to become a master technician and eventually progress into becoming a diesel technician. He wants to stay in Central Texas to work.
Alvarez took four years of automotive classes while a student at Hutto High School. He learned about TSTC when an instructor from TSTC’s Automotive Technology program visited the high school.
Jeffrey Milam, an Automotive Technology teacher at Hutto High School, taught Alvarez for two years.
“He was an exceptional student,” Milam said. “He served as our Car Club president and competed in SkillsUSA’s automotive technology competition both years. He did awesome work in the classroom and shop. He should be well on his way to being a great student and technician.”
Away from classes and work, Alvarez said he likes to go fishing and spend time with his family and friends. He also has an affinity for heavy-duty chassis diesel trucks.
“I do like to go fast,” he said.
TSTC’s Waco campus uses the Mopar Career Automotive Program curriculum for the five-semester Automotive Technology – Chrysler Specialization certificate of completion. Students who graduate will also have earned factory-specific certifications in several specializations, including brakes, engines and HVAC systems.
For more information, go to tstc.edu.