(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Education means opportunity, and no one values that more than Alan Acosta, a Welding Technology student at Texas State Technical College in Brownwood.
Acosta plans to be the first member of his immediate family, who immigrated from Mexico when he was 6, to earn a college degree. He started working on that goal while still a Brownwood High School student, earning college credit through TSTC’s dual enrollment program in welding.
After graduating high school in May 2018, Acosta became a full-time TSTC student working toward a structural welding certificate.
“I first tried welding in middle school and was fascinated by it, but I was pretty horrible,” Acosta said. “But after the classes in high school, I felt a lot more confident, and I’m learning faster now in college.”
The partnership between TSTC and Brownwood High School allows high school students to experience college courses before committing as a full-time traditional student.
“Dual enrollment students become much more experienced in college coursework than other students entering college having never attended a college class, not knowing what to expect,” Rene Ralston, TSTC director of dual enrollment, said. “Brownwood High School is in TSTC’s backyard, so it makes sense to partner with the school.”
TSTC welding instructor Stephen Hope believes that dual enrollment allows students the chance to figure out what they want to do in life and learn what opportunities are available.
“Alan is a determined young man, and he works so hard because he knows that there are so many job opportunities waiting for him,” Hope said. “He will go far because of his determination, and I’m proud of him.”
Acosta encourages anyone interested in getting a well-paying job to pursue their education. “If you have the ambition, you can do it. It may be hard, but you will learn it,” Acosta said. “And the people at TSTC are so helpful and willing to be there for you.”
Acosta’s younger brother, Domingo, is following in his footsteps and is currently enrolled in the welding dual enrollment program at Brownwood High.
Alan Acosta plans to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology at TSTC in Abilene and hopes to graduate in April 2020.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, log on to tstc.edu.