BY Amanda Sotelo
Texas State Technical College graduate and Brownsville native Adrian Cisneros, spoke with students during the Fifth Annual Agriculture Expo recently hosted by TSTC’s Career Services, the United States Customs and Border Protection and the United States Department of Agriculture at the Student Center VIP Room.
Students from Agriculture Technology and Biology were in attendance to speak to Cisneros and the 13 other agencies on hand who provided displays and information about internships and career paths.
“It feels good being back at TSTC and being able to speak to the students who are interested in pursuing a career in agriculture,” said Cisneros. “They’re our future in the industry and it’s nice to help them in any way we can.”
Cisneros, 23, graduated from TSTC in August 2012 with an associate degree in Agriculture Technology. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in General Agriculture from Texas A&M Kingsville in 2014. He is now employed with USDA in Los Indios as a Plant Protection and Quarantine Technician.
In his new job role, Cisneros inspects plant products that come from Mexico, does insect imaging and other inspections needed at all borders and ports of entry in the Rio Grande Valley.
“The hands-on experience I received at TSTC not only prepared me for this job, but also for the university,” said Cisneros. “It allowed me to follow in my parents footsteps and be ready for anything that comes my way in the field. I learned a lot.”
Agriculture has been a career that Cisneros has been interested in pursuing since a young age. He grew up on a ranch with his parents, helping them manage crops, such as sorghum, and taking care of the cattle.
“TSTC changed my life. It gave me the opportunity to follow my dream of working in agriculture,” said Cisneros. “I’m really proud to call myself a TSTC graduate.”
Cisneros hopes to one day become an officer in the USDA and eventually a supervisor.
“Cisneros does a great job for us, he’s a great asset,” said Elias Gonzalez Jr., USDA officer in charge at the Los Indios Plant Inspection Station. “This position is a great chance for him to learn everything and in the future apply for an officer position.”
Gonzalez said Cisneros had worked at USDA during an internship through the USDA’s STEP UP Career Success Program, in which Gonzalez realized TSTC had definitely prepared Cisneros well for a professional career in agriculture.
The STEP UP program is a USDA-funded project to attract, support and train South Texas students for careers in agricultural and natural resource-related sciences. Five post-secondary institutions, including TSTC work closely with the USDA to provide students with hands-on experience in careers in agriculture, biological and environmental sciences through internships.
“I encourage all students to keep up their grades and not be afraid of applying for internships,” said Cisneros. “My internship helped me greatly. USDA careers are very competitive and this gives you a (hiring) edge.”
For more information on Agriculture Technology and the STEP UP program call 956-364-4639.
Registration for summer and fall 2016 begins April 4. You can apply and register anytime at tstc.edu.