(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Among the life-changing decisions that Texas State Technical College alumna Dora Vasquez has been satisfied with was her choice to transition from being a call center supervisor to enrolling in the Mechatronics Technology program at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.
Vasquez, a former Harlingen resident who now resides in McKinney, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Mechatronics Technology from TSTC in May.
She accepted an electrician internship six months ago with Oncor Electric Delivery in north Dallas and recently was promoted to an electrician level II position at the company.
Her duties consist of maintenance and electrical work in several substations throughout north Dallas and some surrounding areas.
“I work with high-level voltage that is up to 345,000 volts in substations,” she said. “That is through the transmission side before it reaches the customers in distribution. I also perform maintenance on transformers, breakers, insulators and several other components.”
Vasquez said her experience with the company has been rewarding.
“During the first week of my internship, everyone was surprised with my knowledge of tools and how well I retained information,” she said. “My first experience on the job began when there was snow and a freeze. My husband educated me when he used to work in substations. So I knew what I was getting myself into. I remained inquisitive, diligent, and I excelled.”
Terrill Allen, a crew foreman for Oncor Electric Delivery, said Vasquez often takes the lead in assignments given to the crew.
“She has a great mindset,” Allen said. “The transition for her from college to field work was seamless. That aided in her progression to become a full-time electrician. TSTC trained her with the knowledge of tools and how to read some schematic diagrams. Her motivation is excellent.”
Vasquez added that she is pleased with Oncor’s work culture.
“In a male-dominated job, everyone is approachable,” she said. “I strongly feel that is one of the best ways to work with other individuals.”
She credits her career success to TSTC’s Mechatronics Technology instructors.
“The instructors motivated me to succeed because I demonstrated strong leadership with my peers,” she said. “I was also a work-study student in the same program. Being in that work-study job allowed me to learn the backbone of mechatronics.”
Carlos Reyes, a TSTC Mechatronics Technology instructor, said Vasquez’s leadership with her classmates shone.
“She wants to excel at everything,” he said. “Her ability to retain theory of technical information and apply it in the lab activities was impressive.”
Vasquez’s interest in the program was piqued when she saw the career success of a close friend who is also an alumna of the program.
“My friend Wendy graduated from TSTC’s Mechatronics Technology program five years ago,” she said. “She has experienced great success with the utility company American Electric Power. My husband was also very supportive. I did some research and learned about the electrical, mechanical and robotics elements. It was fascinating to me, and the career outlook was promising. So I enrolled.”
Vasquez has some advice for prospective students interested in pursuing Mechatronics Technology at TSTC.
“The Associate of Applied Science degree you can earn from this program can be a life-changer,” she said. “You will have a great outcome in the end if you pursue it.”
In Texas, electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians can earn around $63,260 a year. The number of these jobs in the state is expected to increase 8% by 2028.
TSTC offers Mechatronics Technology at the Harlingen campus, where students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree or a Basic Electromechanical Automation (PLC) occupational skills award.