(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Rey Rocha has always had an interest in gears, transmissions and engines.
Now he is gearing up to receive his Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology from Texas State Technical College this fall, and he already has a full-time job lined up.
Rocha is currently working part time at Boggus Ford in Harlingen through TSTC’s cooperative education program as a technician’s assistant, an opportunity that will transition to full time after he graduates this fall.
“I chose to study automotive technology because I have an interest in the theory and combined systems that come together and make the modern vehicle,” Rocha said. “I like using tools and dexterity to accomplish a job.”
The accomplishment he feels after completing a vehicle repair is what drives him to continue to thrive in the field.
“Nothing beats the feeling of being able to troubleshoot the fault in a vehicle, repair it, turn the key on, and hear the vehicle come back to life,” he said.
Eventually Rocha would like to become a recognized Ford technician transmission specialist. His time at TSTC is helping him achieve that goal.
“The hands-on aspect of the program is a fun and necessary experience for those entering the automotive field,” he said. “Our instructors not only teach us the ins and outs of the automotive world, but they also provide life skills that will help make students successful.”
The tactics for success used at TSTC extend beyond the automotive technology curriculum.
“I feel one of the biggest impacts is how students are grouped in the program,” Rocha said. “The class you start with is the same class you graduate with. This grouping creates a camaraderie that helps boost the experience, friendship and comfortability that I feel all students can benefit from.”
The support he has received from his instructors has not gone unnoticed.
“They (instructors) recognize the skills and talents in their students and build off that to create success, and constantly remind students about opportunities related to the automotive field to give them that first step through the door.”
TSTC Automotive Technology instructor Miguel Zoleta has seen Rocha grow as a technician since he began the program.
“Rey has shown so much improvement in his automotive skills since his first semester,” Zoleta said. “We have received great feedback regarding his work with Boggus Ford. He has a lot of initiative and is going to do great in his career.”
Rocha said his greatest sense of accomplishment is embarking into an industry that he loves, and he is grateful that TSTC’s Automotive Technology program helped him find that.
“It offered education, motivation and support,” he said. “I am taking on a career path that I have the utmost confidence and passion for.”
Fall registration is underway. For more information, visit https://tstc.edu/admissions.