Two students stand at a hydraulics simulator.

(NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas) – Some Texas State Technical College students are preparing to celebrate freedom while staying focused on promising futures.

Students of TSTC’s New Braunfels campus are part of the FAME program, where employers hire students and sponsor their education. Each student also gains job experience while earning their associate degree by working part time for their employer when they are not in class.

Some students, like Bryce Birdwell, Alejandro Villarreal and Rosalba Cano, aspire to be in supervisory positions and travel — things they say earning an associate degree will make possible.

Birdwell learned about the New Braunfels program while he was still in high school. 

“It was free, and I didn’t want my dad to have to pay for it,” he said.

Birdwell is excited about the possibility of becoming a supervisor next summer.

“I’ll be able to afford my own apartment next summer after I graduate, especially if I am able to get promoted,” he said. 

Villarreal echoed a similar sentiment. 

“I was working in an office position, but I have always enjoyed machining,” he said. “I was looking at opportunities when I saw an advertisement for AMT (advanced manufacturing technician). I knew I enjoyed machining, so I made the change.”


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TSTC student Alejandro Villarreal assesses his work in the hydraulics lab. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)


Cano has goals that are different from those of her classmates. 

“I want to work for one company for a while, and I want to travel more,” she said. “I want the first trip to be to take my kids to Chicago to see real snow. I want to get out from under my rock and go see things. It takes money and time to save up to do that.”

Cano expects her degree and work experience to allow her to start those travel goals as early as late next year.

Birdwell, Villarreal and Cano said they plan to take a break from their studies and work so they can spend time with their families and watch the fireworks show in San Antonio on Independence Day.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. Learn more at

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