(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Eliodoro Rivas is no stranger to hard work and determination.
After serving in the U.S. Army for three years, he decided to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology at Texas State Technical College.
The AT&T Wind Energy Scholarship from TSTC is helping him achieve his goal.
“Receiving the scholarship was certainly a big, welcome surprise,” the 23-year-old San Benito native said. “The funding I received from the scholarship has helped me significantly. I was able to buy supplies for my classes, and it gave me peace of mind.”
Renewable energy has long held a strong appeal for Rivas.
“I always found renewable energy fascinating,” he said. I remember reading about solar and wind energy in high school. During my time in the service, I became really interested in wind energy, and I saw that TSTC offered a program for it.”
Rivas felt like he had some catching up to do career-wise when he left the military.
“Coming out of the service really opened my eyes to how rough the world can be once you are out,” he said. “Educationally I felt way behind my peers, and I wanted to catch up immediately and build a career. I’d heard stories of students obtaining their four-year degrees but having no job opportunities. I did not want to waste more time, so I decided a technical degree was arguably the best option.”
His work ethic is one thing that allows him to enjoy his time in the wind energy program.
“I like that I have the ability to really apply myself to the work, both mentally and physically” he said. “Being able to read, write and speak the language of schematics, electrical and mechanical components is amazing. It really feels like learning another language. I’m also no stranger to physical labor, and I absolutely love heights.”
Rivas’ instructors at TSTC have left an impact on him and his aspiration to become a wind energy technician.
“Whether it was challenging me every step of the way or going beyond what was asked of them, they really inspired me.”
Rivas, who recently became a father, said that everything from here on out is for his family.
“After I graduate, I hope to start my career as a wind turbine technician. Being a first-time father means I can’t afford to slow down anytime soon. Everything I do is for my son, and I know this career path will help me grow and provide for my family.”
He credits the Army and TSTC for allowing him to continue fulfilling his dream.
“The Army has become a part of me,” he said. “I never, ever want to let that go. When I start my career as a wind turbine technician, I hope to reenlist and join the National Guard—part-time soldier, full-time wind technician.”
To learn more about TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program, visit https://tstc.edu/programs/WindEnergyTechnology.