(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Texas State Technical College Environmental Technology instructor Maria Vaughan brings knowledge and a passion for environmental safety into her classroom every day. Her time at TSTC has brought her not only many wonderful memories, but also a stronger sense of purpose as she continues to educate the future employees of the industry that she loves.
What inspired you to get into teaching?
Actually, I fell into teaching. One of the reasons was because most of the people I encountered within my industry did not understand the “how to”: How to take a water sample; how to take an air sample; how to write a sampling plan, an emergency response plan or other environmental and safety plans. It was amazing to me to see companies not know what environmental and safety regulations they were subject to or how to apply them. Teaching gave me the opportunity to give back the “how to” to students before they went into industry.
What did you do before teaching at TSTC?
Before TSTC, I worked with Parks and Wildlife, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and as a consultant. Each position had its merits and molded me into the environmentalist I am today. I am grateful for each experience and thankful that I am able to share my experiences with others.
What do you enjoy most about working with students?
A student once told me, “Ms. Vaughan, you are actually teaching us and training us for the real world.” I definitely enjoy when students realize that the education they are receiving at TSTC exceeds their expectations. There is a change in their demeanor and attitude toward the courses and with each other. Their want for education and the drive to get all they can from their instructors grows exponentially.
Do you have a favorite TSTC memory?
I think my most favorite memory was during an Environmental Toxicology class. The lesson included learning about chronic and acute illness, and the differences or similarities between the two. One of my students, out of the blue, said, “Ms. Vaughan is acute.” That brought the entire class to laughter.
To learn more about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.