TSC opens welding bays, one-of-a-kind testing site to local high school students for competition

Roosbel Sanchez, a sophomore at La Joya High School, celebrated the first-place win with his classmates after an Agriculture and Industrial Welding competition recently hosted at the welding lab and American Welding Society testing site at Texas Southmost College.

TSC’s Welding AWS testing site is the only one of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley and supports local and statewide industries with weld certification testing.

Nearly 200 welding students from across the Rio Grande Valley gathered at the site to test their skills and showcase their welding talents during the competition, and for Sanchez, his practice and preparation paid off.

“I did not expect to win anything,” said the 16-year-old. “I came here to challenge myself, test my skills and create a learning experience, but I’m not hating coming in first. It was a great surprise.”

The sophomore began his welding journey only last year but said welding is something he’s had his eyes set on since he was small and for him, like for many of the students competing, welding is a career possibility, so gaining this experience is invaluable.

“I want this to open up other opportunities for me,” said Sanchez. “This is a foot in the door in a career that can be successful, and I can’t wait to see where I go from here.”

The competition consisted of agriculture and industrial welding categories, with each competitive weld test taking about an hour for each student.

Students were then judged on their weld accuracies, consistencies, and cleanliness, each being a deciding factor for first through fifth place.

TSC Director of Construction and Manufacturing for Workforce Training and Continuing Education Thomas Tynan said teaching and giving the future generation of welders this opportunity is instrumental in their success and future careers.

“Not many high school students will get this kind of opportunity, in a center like this,” said Tynan. “To be able to give them the chance to showcase their skills, instruct them, see them work past their nerves, build their confidence and get a job done is a proud moment for us and their teachers. We hope to continue hosting events like this in the future because they make all the difference.”

Alexa De La O, a junior at Palmview High School, is in her first year of welding, something she has wanted to do since childhood watching her dad weld in the evenings and weekends.

“It’s exciting to have the chance to weld, just like my dad,” said De La O. “I was nervous about competing but realized that everyone was here to help us learn and become better. It’s great that TSC is hosting this…it’s a great way to get like-minded people together and help us experience new things.”

For more information about TSC’s Welding program or to schedule a tour or testing date, visit tsc.edu/wtce or call 956-295-3724.

TSC Business student named San Benito Chamber Executive Director

Texas Southmost College Business student Phoebe Paz was recently named Executive Director of the San Benito Chamber of Commerce, a career that stemmed from an internship she received as a new student at the college.

“It really is an honor to have been chosen for this position, it’s a huge step,” said the 20-year-old. “When I became an intern, I never imagined that this would become a possibility for someone like me.”

Paz, who is no stranger to hard work, crosses the international bridge every morning from Matamoros, where she lives with her father, to attend class and work, a journey that began almost two years ago.

“I have worked since I was 16 and there hasn’t been a time since then that I didn’t have a job, but when the pandemic hit, it all changed,” said the Brownsville native. “For someone born into a family whose father is a doctor, I needed to find my way. College has always been an option, so I enrolled at TSC, never imagining it would lead me to where I am today.”

Upon enrolling as a student at TSC, Paz took it upon herself to look for a job – the pandemic was posing quite a problem finding one that wouldn’t expose her and her aging father to COVID-19. Fortunately, TSC’s Student Life and Career and Employment Services departments helped her connect with the Texas Workforce Solutions Cameron, which led her to the San Benito Chamber of Commerce.

“It was all new to me, but the help I received from TSC for this opportunity didn’t go unnoticed. They helped me more than they know,” said Paz. “The world of business was new to me, it was outside of the medical field my family wanted me to pursue, but I knew business and helping people was my calling.”

Paz started at the San Benito Chamber answering phones, organizing files and invoices and sending emails, but when the executive director resigned, she quickly became the interim executive director for her extensive knowledge about the chamber.

“I knew the chamber, its processes and methods and I worked hard to show the board and our community that I deserved this position, despite my young age,” she said.

Her work made an impression, because with about a year and half left before earning her associate degree, she is the official executive director of the San Benito Chamber of Commerce.

“All of this is possible because of TSC. They have empowered me,” said Paz. “They opened doors for me and continue to open doors for me. They gave me a scholarship, helped me find a job at the chamber, and will allow me to become a college graduate. I couldn’t have gotten this type of personalized help anywhere else.”

Not only does she thank TSC for the tireless work its faculty and staff do to help students succeed, but she also thanks her father, mother, stepfather and boyfriend for being her support system throughout this journey.

Once she earns her associate degree from TSC in 2023, she plans to continue pursuing her education and earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics and finance.

“My goal is to help the community of San Benito and the Rio Grande Valley reach economic excellence, by helping local entrepreneurs and businesses from near and far to establish a footprint in our communities,” she said. “I want the San Benito Chamber to be a destination of resources and help for all – aligning with my overall goal of helping people and making a difference.”

TSC Pop-up Food Pantry fights food insecurity, promotes success in the classroom

Texas Southmost College student Gonzalo Cedillo was able to put food on his table for his family thanks to a pair of Pop-up Food Pantry hosted recently at TSC’s Main Campus and International Technology, Education and Commerce Center (ITECC).

The pantry organized by TSC Student Life in partnership with the Brownsville Wellness Coalition and Walmart, provided at least 400 students with free fresh produce and a bag of groceries.

“There’s a lot going on and I’m struggling a little bit, but this ensures we have something to eat for the next few days. We’ll make it stretch,” said Cedillo. “I’m thankful to TSC and everyone out here for doing this for us. For me, personally, it means more than they’ll ever know.”

TSC’s Pop-up Food Pantry was made possible by a Communities Foundation of Texas Grant from RGV FOCUS, a Walmart Community Grant and donation of non-perishable food items from the Walmart Boca Chica location, a Valley Baptist Foundation Grant and the donation of fresh produce from the Brownsville Wellness Coalition.

Angelica Fuentes, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of Academic Success said TSC’s mission is to help students be successful, and that also includes helping them outside of the classroom.

“For students to be successful, their basic needs need to be met first,” she said. “They need to feel secure, safe, have housing and food – that is why we’re putting in place pop-up food pantries. All their needs need to be put in place before any learning can happen.”

The event also included booths from Brownsville’s Good Neighbor Settlement House and Red Wagon Ministry and Outreach to provide information to students on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, shelters and soup kitchens, among other resources.

For Alberto Quintero, an Architecture student at TSC, this event helps alleviate the burden when faced with hunger.

“Events like this help put things in perspective. Our area is impoverished, and many need this help,” said Quintero. “This is helping many families and having a positive impact in our community. TSC and the local organizations hosting this event are doing a good thing and I hope they continue helping students and the community. I want them to know they’re doing a great job.”

Fuentes added, “On behalf of everyone at TSC, we are thankful to them for helping us make events like these possible.”

Never give up: TSC sonography student sees her dreams become a reality

Third time’s the charm for Marian Meneses, who graduated last year from the Texas Southmost College Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, a goal that was several years in the making.

The 28-year-old started her career in health care as a medical assistant at an OB/GYN clinic. It was there that she discovered her interest in sonography.

“My interest in sonography was sparked immediately observing our sonographers and their work,” the Brownsville native recalls. “But my plan didn’t quite go as expected.”

Upon realizing her passion, Meneses enrolled at TSC to begin her general studies and complete any classes she needed to apply to the college’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. However, she didn’t get accepted.

In fact, it took two more years for Meneses to become an official student in the sonography program, but she never gave up.

“If you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. The third time was the charm for me,” said Meneses. “And then there was overcoming the first semester struggle, where everything is new and challenging; and I thought I wouldn’t make it. But here I am – a registered diagnostic sonographer.”

Meneses, who now works as a registered sonographer with Su Clínica in Brownsville in the OB/GYN unit, credits her instructors, the hands-on training and real-world experiences she received while in the program for her recent success.

“You’re never fully prepared for what’s to come in the health care field, but TSC’s sonography program ensured that we had the foundational skills needed to go in prepared and confident,” she said. “Every instructor, was and is, a motivator, encourager and cheerleader for our success.”

Meneses added she can still call upon her instructors to get advice or ask questions.

In addition to Meneses being a registered sonographer and certified to conduct OB/GYN ultrasounds, she also has a certification to perform abdomen ultrasounds.

“A number of opportunities have come my way since graduating from the program,” said Meneses. “I was able to immediately start my career and begin looking toward a successful future where anything is possible.”

Meneses’ goals are to expand her knowledge, experience and learning in the sonography field, beginning with becoming a certified vascular sonographer and building a better life for her and her family.”

“It’s been all about school and getting to where I am today for the last few years,” she said. “Now it’s time to focus on giving back to my parents, because they have given me everything, to focus on patient care, help as many people as possible and build a life I can be proud of.”

For more information about TSC’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, visit tsc.edu.

Registration for TSC’s summer and fall 2022 semesters is currently underway. To register, visit tsc.edu/register.

TSC’s Ruby Gala raised more than $50K for student scholarships

As part of Texas Southmost College’s 95th anniversary year celebration, the college raised more than $50,000 in student scholarship funds through its Ruby Gala, held April 2.

Hosted by the TSC Foundation Board, the evening brought together community members from across the Rio Grande Valley to support students as TSC marks 95 years of service to its communities.

“We are grateful to everyone who attend the event, those who sponsored tables, and all who participated in the online silent auction,” said TSC Foundation Board Chair, Manny M. Casanova. “Every dollar raised will assist more students in achieving their dream of earning a college education and help us achieve the TSC Foundation mission of providing equal opportunities for students to access a quality, affordable college education.”

During the gala, TSC alumna Anethe Hernandez thanked donors for helping her and hundreds of other students earn a degree or certificate from Texas Southmost College.

She earned an associate degree in Architecture from TSC and is continuing her education at TSC by pursing a complementary associate degree in Computer-Aided Drafting, and said it was TSC’s Finish Strong scholarship that has allowed her to follow her dreams.

“This scholarship helped me pay part of my spring semester tuition and gave me that rush of happiness that I needed to continue working and giving my 110% in every goal I set,” the 24-year-old said. “It made me realize that all the sacrifices my family and I made to be where I am today are worth it.”

TSC Board of Trustees Immediate Past Chair and TSC Foundation Secretary Adela Garza said the gala was proof that when a community works together, big things can be achieved, as she noted the gala’s fundraising goal had been surpassed.

“It was a collective effort in raising this money for our students,” said Garza. “Dreams are coming true for our students and their families. Lives are being changed for the better. Thank you to everyone who has supported our mission and helped us create these scholarships.”

David Tumlinson, Director of Foundation and Community Outreach said TSC has two more major 95th anniversary events planned to continue to enhance community connections as it raises funds for student scholarships.

The college will host the Valley Symphony Orchestra’s “Star Wars: Music from a Galaxy Far Away” performance on April 30 at the Performing Arts Center. Tickets are on sale at topboxtickets.com.

In addition, TSC will host its second annual golf tournament at the Rancho Viejo Resort & Country Club on August 20.

For more information about tournament sponsorship and to reserve a spot for your team, contact the Foundation office at [email protected].

For more information about upcoming events, or to learn how to become a donor, visit tsc.edu.

TSC welcomes medical doctor, educator to the faculty team

Dr. Griselda Galvez, medical doctor and surgeon for more than 30 years and longtime educator, is now part of the Texas Southmost College faculty sharing her knowledge and passion for health and science.

As the college’s newest Anatomy and Physiology instructor, Galvez is teaching more than 100 aspiring medical professionals and preparing them for a rewarding career in health care.

“I’ve had an extensive career and I’m excited to add TSC to the resume,” said Galvez. “Part of the job description of being a doctor is to keep learning, but also to keep teaching. In fact, we teach every day. I knew early on in my career that teaching in a classroom was also for me.”

Starting her career as a 15-year-old with the Red Cross in Mexico, responding to medical emergencies and training others is what forged Galvez’s path. However, it was the day she delivered a baby that solidified her life decision.

The Mexico native earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing and went on to earn her medical degree in 1987, in addition to certifications and licenses in other specialties such pediatrics, neonatology and surgery.

She also holds two master’s degrees in science and education.

During her 30 years as a medical doctor and surgeon in Mexico’s Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social hospitals, in Tampico, Monterrey and Matamoros, Galvez also taught high school biology and dual enrollment anatomy and physiology in the United States at the Brownsville Independent School District, Los Fresnos Independent School District and TSC and served as a principal for IDEA Public Schools.

Galvez said many are curious and ask how she could leave such a lucrative medical career and her answer is simple: her and her children’s well-being.

Retiring in 2020, Galvez left behind her career in Mexico because of the COVID-19 pandemic and fear that working in a hospital could have a long-term impact on her children’s health.

“I had to keep my kids safe; they are my top priority, always,” she said. “So, I decided to move my career into the classroom full time, still doing what I love, while keeping my family safe.”

She added that a career in which you continuously learn will always provide opportunities, and that’s what she teaches her students.

Since transitioning to the classroom full time as TSC’s Anatomy and Physiology instructor, her goals are to initiate a connection with her students, build trust to provide a positive learning experience and to help students realize they are important members of society.

“Yes, I teach patient care and all things health and science, but for students to succeed they need to know that they play a vital role in how our society works, that they are important and that their dreams and goals matter,” she said. “This is my number one goal for all of my students.”

Galvez said she loves where she is at this point of her career and hopes to continue teaching.

In the coming weeks, Galvez will earn a certification in holistic medicine and plans on returning to school for a doctorate in education, science or neuroscience.

For more information about the programs offered at TSC, visit tsc.edu.

Registration for summer and fall 2022 is currently underway.

TSC offers new Psychology program to meet nationwide demand

Fall 2022 will introduce a collection of new degrees, and one of those will be an Associate of Arts in Psychology.

TSC Dean of Humanities Brian McCormack, Ph.D., said TSC has seen a rise in student demand for psychology-related classes. He added there has always been a shortage of mental health professionals and COVID-19 increased that need.

“There is a rising tide of interest in psychology, and we see it every semester with the number of students registering for psychology courses,” he said. “Making the decision to expand the psychology classes we offer and introduce a new degree is a step in the right direction toward ensuring that TSC is meeting not only a regional or statewide need, but a national need.”

TSC’s Psychology program takes two years to complete and includes a curriculum that was created by TSC psychology faculty and professionals in the field

“This program will prove to be a steppingstone for many. We’re thrilled to kick off this program in the coming months,” said McCormack. “This coursework will prepare them (students) to o transfer to a four-year university to continue their education.”

Students who pursue this associate degree will learn everything from general psychology, approaches and theories, ethics, statistical methods and world views to advanced psychology that includes social and biological methodology.

McCormack said there are several career opportunities students can pursue with a degree in psychology, including numerous certifications in the profession. Given the recent pandemic, the program also aims to give students the knowledge and confidence to fill a shortage in the mental health profession and improve people’s mental health overall.

He also credits TSC’s Board of Trustees, leadership and faculty for making this program a possible opportunity for students.

“A lot of work has gone into getting this program, among many other new programs, off the ground,” said McCormack. “Everyone has been instrumental and with a dynamic set of psychology instructors and community advisers, there is no doubt that psychology will be successful program.”

Students can begin registering for the new program beginning April 1, which is the registration start date for summer and fall 2022.

For more information, visit tsc.edu or call Psychology Program Coordinator Jill Maschio, Ph.D., at 956-295-3513.

TSC Digital Library offers students new opportunity to learn and grow

Texas Southmost College recently introduced the college’s first Digital Library, and for TSC students like Irlanda Moreno, having this service has made completing assignments and essays more convenient.

“Having information and resources at my fingertips and being able to access it even if I’m not on campus helps so much,” said the 19-year-old. “This is especially going to come in handy as I prepare to apply to the Radiologic Technology program. The way I see it, TSC’s Digital Library is another way the college is helping us succeed.”

The idea for TSC’s Digital Library, located at the SET B Annex, room 1.536, was first introduced in 2019 to give TSC and its students its own library and resources, since this service was originally being shared with a local university.

“TSC needed its own in-house library for students and faculty,” said TSC Librarian Nancy Bond. “So, my goal since day one has been to create a center that met that need.”

Any TSC student, by simply logging in with their TSC credentials, can access the Digital Library and everything it has to offer.

Students can find resources such as eBooks, electronic articles and journals needed to complete research, assignments and essays.

Bond said since the Digital Library’s official kickoff last month, it has been popular with students.

“This service is crucial to our student and faculty success,” she said. “We have faculty sending students over and students recommending it to their friends. This is changing the way our students learn and the way our instructors teach. It really has had a positive impact.”

TSC’s Digital Library space has been fully redesigned to provide students with individual and group, noise reduction study rooms; a multipurpose room that can be used for class or large meetings; at least 60-70 computers; printers and charging stations.

Soon, TSC students will be able to check out laptops using a new kiosk located at the Digital Library center.

The kiosk will provide up to 24 laptops that can be borrowed for up to 48 hours to complete assignments, quizzes and tests or projects.

“Our goal is to continue expanding and growing the services that our Digital Library offers,” said Bond. “We’ll be working on including resources specific to programs we offer and that will continue to help our students learn and grow.”

Bond encourages anyone who has not visited the Digital Library to stop by. She said there is something for everyone.

While the Digital Library online service is available 24 hours a day at tsc.edu/library and the Digital Library center is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about TSC’s Digital Library, call 956-295-3452.

TSC CARES continues student financial support

Texas Southmost College will distribute $750 to students this spring as part of the ongoing TSC CARES package.

The funds will be distributed to students currently enrolled in credit courses at TSC, with the exception of dual enrollment students. International students and others who did not previously qualify for federal financial aid are included in the aid package, which is funded through the American Rescue Plan–Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III.

“Our Board of Trustees is dedicated to ensuring college remains affordable for our communities,” said TSC Board of Trustees Chair Ruben Herrera. “Through this grant funding students can benefit from additional support that will help them meet their financial needs outside of the classroom so they can remain focused on their studies.”

TSC President Jesús Roberto Rodríguez, Ph.D., said the funding helps keep students on track towards graduation and puts money directly into the hands of the students so they can finish the semester Scorpion Strong.

“TSC continues to provide a pathway to securing a high-paying career and long-term financial stability,” said TSC President Jesús Roberto Rodríguez.

Daniel Ramos, a TSC Social Work student who will graduate next month, said the money distributed through the TSC CARES package has been a lifeline for him and other students during the past two years.

“Getting additional money during the semester helps me out tremendously,” he said. “At the beginning of the semester I used my financial aid money to get a laptop and buy my books, and getting this extra money came at the right time.”