(MARSHALL, Texas) – For the first time, Texas State Technical College in Marshall is hosting a group of Texas A&M University College of Engineering students who are taking summer classes as part of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s Bachelor’s+ Program.
Students are taking nine weeks of classes in the Process Operations and Basic Welding – Multiple Processes occupational skills achievement award programs.
“They have been great,” Randy Clark, an instructor in TSTC’s Process Operations program, said of the students. “They work hard, and they have enjoyed getting their hands dirty.”
Mariana De Hoyos, of Del Rio, is studying chemical engineering and engineering project management and is scheduled to graduate in 2023 from Texas A&M.
De Hoyos said she was surprised on her first day of summer classes when she saw the Process Operations Technology program’s distillation column and other equipment.
“It has been amazing,” she said. “I have enjoyed this experience. It’s intimate, and I like being able to get hands-on experience.”
De Hoyos said that before taking TSTC’s classes, she felt discouraged when applying for internships because of a lack of experience, but she now has the confidence and motivation to pursue those opportunities.
After graduation, De Hoyos wants to earn a business degree and work in the administrative side of engineering.
Jhanjaneth Perea, of Katy, is studying chemical engineering at Texas A&M University and is scheduled to graduate in 2023. She chose her major because she enjoyed taking math and science classes in high school.
Perea said her favorite activity has been learning about the lockout and tag-out safety process.
“The instructors are very patient and really want you to figure things out,” she said.
Tomas Leal JrKeller, is studying chemical engineering and is scheduled to graduate in 2023 from Texas A&M. He chose his major because his father was a chemical engineer and motivated him to solve problems on his own through critical thinking. Leal’s high school chemistry class also influenced his decision.
Leal said the work he has done at TSTC is helping him understand how process operators would think. He said this is important since he will work alongside in the future.
“I wanted to get hands-on experience,” Leal said. “It is something we lack as chemical engineering majors at Texas A&M. It’s theoretical there.”
In the Process Operations Technology program, the Texas A&M students have gotten to use PetroSkills Simulation Distillation VR software. The program’s instructors are able to simulate dangerous scenarios virtually for distillation systems in scenarios like chemical leaks, explosions and plant fires.
De Hoyos said she enjoyed using the software because it helped her understand what to look for and the causes of real-world problems.
The Texas A&M students taking the Process Operations Technology occupational skills achievement award took field trips to Eastman Chemical Co. in Longview and to the West Fraser – Henderson Mill.
Leal said he enjoyed seeing the companies’ safety initiatives and organization.
“It allowed me to expand my network,” he said.
The Bachelor’s+ Program fulfills the students’ ENGR(x) zero-credit-hour requirement for graduation from Texas A&M. To meet the requirement, engineering students must participate in an approved engineering-centric activity that meets the criteria of a high-impact learning experience, followed by meaningful self-reflection.
For more information on the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s Bachelor’s+ Program, go to tees.tamu.edu.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.