(SWEETWATER, Texas) – High school students from throughout West Texas learned about the different programs that Texas State Technical College has available during its Fall Preview Day earlier this month.
Around 250 students toured the labs of TSTC’s Sweetwater campus and met with instructors from programs available at campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge and Waco. The high schools represented were Baird, Cherokee, Colorado City, Floydada, Garden City, Irion County, Loraine, McCamey, Miles, Pecos, Snyder, Tahoka and Throckmorton.
Nick Williamson, coordinator of recruitment for TSTC’s West Texas campuses, set a goal in scheduling the Fall Preview Day in Sweetwater.
“We have a lot of schools that could not attend our event in Abilene. We knew that having a preview day in Sweetwater would benefit our western region of the recruiting area,” he said. “I am excited to see so many schools from West Texas seeing what we can provide their students following graduation.”
Jerra Villesca, the career technical education (CTE) and college, career and military readiness counselor at Pecos High School, wanted her students to see the programs firsthand.
“We wanted to expose our students to what is available outside of a 100-mile radius of Pecos,” she said. “There are many CTE-aligned programs available at TSTC. We wanted to be able to show them their options.”
Villesca said Pecos is a three-plus hour drive from Sweetwater, but she did not want that to deter students from looking at the TSTC programs.
“There are TSTC campuses all across the state, and I know there is something our students would be interested in,” she said. “I want them to see what would be perfect for them to choose as a career.”
One of those career opportunities is Automotive Technology, which showcased its virtual reality training. Several students and counselors each took time to change the oil of a vehicle virtually with the new technology.
“It was like I was really under the car,” said Jan McClain, an advisor for Big Spring High School. “I was ducking down and reaching for the tools. I have never done an oil change before, but I might have to give it a chance now.”
McClain said the high school students were able to interact with TSTC students during the event.
“There is so much available for students to learn and do,” she said. “They had the chance to try some of the technology and talk to students who are currently using it.”
Gabby Mallet, the associate provost for the Sweetwater campus, said watching students use the technology benefited the college’s recruiting efforts.
“For students to be able to perform hands-on skills with our equipment, both in the labs and at each booth, was exciting to see,” she said. “I am amazed by what the students were able to do just by visiting our campus.”
The preview day was a chance for Marco Escobedo, the automotive instructor at Snyder High School, to expand his students’ career aspirations.
“I wanted my students to see there were more programs available to them than just automotive,” he said. “I had one student who may look to go into the plumbing program after talking to instructors. There are several opportunities for students to find a career at TSTC.”
Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.