(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Aydra Vasquez, a former California resident who now lives in Harlingen, has fond memories of being in the robotics club at her middle school near San Diego.
Those memories would influence her decision to enroll in the Mechatronics Technology program at Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus, where she is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree. She was also inspired by the career success of her stepmother, who is a graduate of the same program.
“(She) mentioned many of the positive things that have happened in her life, such as being able to provide for her family,” Vasquez said. “I performed an online search and visited the Mechatronics Technology program webpage. I watched a video, and the hands-on activities those students were doing motivated me to enroll.”
Vasquez added that as the daughter of a military veteran, she received enrollment assistance from the college’s Veteran Services department.
“My father was in the U.S. Navy,” she said. “Thanks to his service, TSTC’s Veteran Services helped me throughout the registration process.”
After a month into the fall semester, the first-semester student noticed something unique about her college experience.
“I noticed how passionate each instructor is about the Mechatronics Technology program when they lecture,” she said.
Vasquez said the lab assignments have stimulated her desire to learn more.
“The instructors explain the assignments without making it confusing,” she said. “An assignment that’s my favorite was the basics of programming code. The objective is to properly wire an LED light that has red, blue and green colors inside it and make it change by manipulating the code.”
Carlos Reyes, a TSTC Mechatronics Technology instructor, said Vasquez is progressing well.
“Aydra is learning the basics in the Mechatronics Technology program such as reading schematics,” he said. “Although the program is challenging, I am certain she will succeed because she is persistent.”
“Don’t get discouraged if some aspects of the program seem difficult,” she said. “You can easily overcome them.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians can earn around $63,260 a year. Onetonline.org projected that there would be an 8% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2018 to 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 achievement award.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.