(ABILENE, Texas) – Harold Mason Jr. has always been interested in computers.

That interest led him to Texas State Technical College, where he received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration this spring.

“I have been into computers since I was 11 years old,” said Mason, a native of Abilene.

His father gave him his first computer, and Mason said it needed a CD-ROM.

“I saved my allowance, went to the store, and went home and installed it myself. I was able to do it all on my own, and I fell in love with computers,” he said. “Ever since then, I knew I was going to be able to do things with computers.”

After graduating from Jim Ned High School in 2000, Mason had planned to attend TSTC to focus on computers.

“I had a lot of issues and ended up not going. But I always told myself I would go back,” he said.

He enrolled several years later, and he said the curriculum was challenging.

“You had to know the basics of computers. I knew a lot about computers, and the instructors were always willing to help,” Mason said.

The help was appreciated, he said.

“It changed me as a person. It helped me grow,” he said.

Mason said he worked hard at TSTC and graduated in the top 10 percent of his class and became a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the largest honor society in American higher education.

“I would recommend people look at TSTC. It offers so much,” Mason said. “The instructors will work with you.”

Mason said instructor involvement was one of the reasons he appreciates TSTC.

“You can talk to the instructors at any time. They are going to make time for you,” he said. “If you have any issues, they will gladly work with you.”

Mason said he is looking for a job, knowing his degree will be the first step in the door.

“I have a lot of calls out there and have been weighing my options. I know I will find my career in computers,” he said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

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