(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program is experiencing double the fun, times two.
Alejandra and Galilea Puente, of Waco, and Sam and Tim Winters, of Colleyville, are students at Texas A&M University in College Station. The students are taking nine weeks of welding classes this summer at TSTC’s Waco campus as part of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s Bachelor’s+ Program.
Griffin Smyth, co-lead instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program, said he has been impressed with the students’ work ethic and excitement about welding.
“These are the students that any instructor would fight to have in their classroom,” Smyth said.
The two sets of twins are spending nine weeks taking Introduction to Welding Using Multiple Processes, Introduction to Shielded Metal Arc Welding and Intermediate Welding Using Multiple Processes.
The Puente sisters grew up in Del Rio and moved to Waco, where they graduated from University High School. Alejandra Puente is an Interdisciplinary Engineering major and Galilea Puente is a Materials Science and Engineering major, with both scheduled to graduate in 2023 from Texas A&M.
Alejandra said she struggled at first with using the welding equipment but has grown more confident in her new skills as the summer has progressed. She said knowing some welding techniques will help her communicate better about projects with people who are not engineers when she goes to work.
Galilea said she is surprised at how fun welding can be and that she has learned a lot already. And she said it has made her more aware of her surroundings by looking out for safety hazards.
“I think it will help me understand how structures work,” she said. “I am getting real-world experience.”
The Winters brothers grew up in Colleyville and are graduates of Colleyville Heritage High School. Sam is a general engineering major, while Tim is a Mechanical Engineering major. Both are scheduled to graduate in 2023 from Texas A&M.
Like the Puente sisters, the Winters brothers did not have welding experience upon coming to TSTC. The brothers said they chose the Waco campus for their welding classes because it is halfway between their hometown and College Station.
“I like the fact that not only can I do something with my hands, but afterward I have the weld as the evidence of my work and can see how to improve on it,” Sam said.
Tim said he is surprised at how self-guided the welding classes are.
“It’s more fun than I expected,” he said. “It is hard work and definitely more fulfilling than just taking online classes.”
TSTC’s Welding Technology program in Waco is hosting more than 10 students this summer from Texas A&M’s College of Engineering. The Bachelor’s+ Program fulfills the students’ ENGR(x) zero-credit-hour requirement for graduation. To meet the requirement, the 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 Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s Bachelor’s+ Program, go to tees.tamu.edu.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.