Waco Instrumentation Technology Daniel Liu student

(WACO, Texas) – Life is an adventure for Daniel Liu.

Liu, of Hewitt, has spent time walking across New Zealand and long-term backpacking in Europe. Now he is living out a new adventure as an Instrumentation Technology student at Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus.

Liu is in his fifth semester of the program. He said he has enjoyed working with electricity, smart devices, and transmitters.

“I’ve definitely had to work for it,” he said. “I don’t think I have struggled. I like how much field experience the instructors have, along with their reputations in the field.”

Mike Martin, an Instrumentation Technology program instructor, said Liu challenges him in a good way as an instructor.

“He will test you as far as your knowledge,” Martin said. “He asks questions that no one asks. He does research outside of class.”

Liu did an internship in fall 2023 at Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant in Glen Rose. He worked with instrumentation and controls department staff, learning about automation controls, calibration, and troubleshooting.

Kyler Valenta, an instructor in the Instrumentation Technology program, said internships can be good experiences for students like Liu. 

“They go see how it applies in the field, and they come back up and finish (the program),” Valenta said.

Liu said TSTC came at the right time in his life.

He grew up in different parts of the country and along the way earned a master’s degree in linguistics. He also decided to have some fun.

Liu taught classes in English as a second language in China. He has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, and has more than 16,000 hours of backpacking experience to his credit.

“Backpacking is something I did and a phase in my life,” he said.

Liu previously lived in Seattle, Washington, before moving to Texas. A friend in the instrumentation field told Liu about his own career and encouraged him to pursue it.

After graduating this spring from TSTC, Liu said he wants to pursue a career in digital formatting and instrumentation and work on a bachelor’s degree focusing on instrumentation and engineering.

According to onetonline.org, the need for electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians in Texas was forecast to increase 14% between 2020 and 2030. The website stated that the median salary for these technicians in the state is $62,970.

For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu

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