TSTC Welding Technology students (from left) Sabrine Stewart, Tabitha Bishop, Rory Bustamante and Carlos Murga will compete in the SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference in Houston.

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Ten Texas State Technical College students will represent the West Texas campuses at the SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference scheduled for this week in Houston.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization focused on employability, leadership and technical skills that help college students pursue successful careers and be part of a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA has more than 100 categories of competition, ranging from 3D Visualization and Animation to Welding Sculpture.

The SkillsUSA competition will begin Thursday, April 13, and conclude with the awards ceremony on Saturday, April 15.

Breckenridge Vocational Nursing students Lacey Hampton and Jamila Skhak are scheduled to compete, as are Wind Energy Technology students Philip Taylor and Axel Torres from Sweetwater. Six Welding Technology students from the Brownwood campus will also compete. They are Tabitha Bishop, Rory Bustamante, Weston Conine, Danny Cores, Carlos Murga and Sabrina Stewart.

Hampton is scheduled to compete in Medical Terminology. She has been a certified medical assistant for five years and has one reason for competing and representing TSTC.

“I want to prove to myself that nothing I have been learning has been in vain,” she said. “I also would like to win.”

Torres is scheduled to compete in Electronics Technology and Related Technical Math.

“SkillsUSA provides so many different technical competitions that showcases participants’ technical, personal and workplace skills. As a result, I thought SkillsUSA would be a great opportunity for me to develop, learn and apply all the technical skills and knowledge I have learned in my program,” Torres said. “The competition allows me to get out of my comfort zone and apply my personal skills. It also provides me a good opportunity to network with other participants and companies partaking in SkillsUSA.”

In the welding competitions, Bustamante, Conine and Cores will enter the team competition with a turbo stove.

“I wanted to compete with my classmates to see how far we have evolved in our skills,” Bustamante said. “I am proud to be representing TSTC along with my teammates.”

Bishop, Murga and Stewart will be among the contestants in the sculpture competition. Bishop will submit a replica of her father’s race car, Murga is sculpting a pizza and Stewart is working on a windmill with flower petals for blades.

The students had different reasons for participating in SkillsUSA.

“I am excited to see where everyone else is in their welding skills,” Stewart said. “I know there will be a lot of varying skills at the contest.”

“I decided to do the pizza in honor of the place where I work,” Murga said. “I am competitive, and this is a good way to meet new people.”

 “I know that there will be a lot of industries out there,” Bishop said. “This is a good way for me to get my name out there as a future welder.”

Gold medalists will move on to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference being held in late June in Atlanta, Georgia.

For more information on SkillsUSA, go to skillsusa.org.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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