BY Amanda Sotelo
Luis Silva, a stellar student at Texas State Technical College, learned the hard way that a four-year university is not for everyone.
The 23-year-old Mechatronics Technology student started his college career at a local university studying Electrical Engineering because everyone in high school told him he had to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
“I was always told I had to go to a four-year school. But that was the right choice for them, not for me,” said Silva. “My grades suffered and so did my confidence.”
The Roma native added that he considers himself a hands-on learner so learning solely from lectures and books was difficult for him.
“I learn by doing,” he said. “And TSTC has been able to provide me with the learning environment I need to excel.”
All TSTC programs are made up of at least 60 percent hands-on learning on industry standard equipment. And, the majority of faculty are seasoned veterans who have worked in the real-world industry.
Today Silva is pursuing an associate degree in Mechatronics Technology, which combines various disciplines within the engineering field, including electrical.
“A large part of my day is working hands-on with machines similar to what is in industry,” he said. “I’m not even close to graduating, but if I were to be offered a job tomorrow I would feel fully prepared and confident.”
Mechatronics Technology Lead Instructor Rolando Leija said he sees Silva going far in his career.
“He has a goal and has his eyes set on companies he wants to work for,” said Leija. “There’s no doubt he’ll be successful.”
The Rio Grande Valley is home to Silva and he hopes to stay in south Texas, but said he keeps an open mind and won’t shut doors of opportunities if they are opened.
Silva’s goal is to work for American Electric, Toyota or Oncor utilities when he graduates in either the electrical, maintenance or machine operations side.
TSTC’s Mechatronics Technology prepares students like Silva for careers in electronics, mechanics, robotics, instrumentation and computer control systems and positions such as electrical engineering technicians, mechanical engineering technicians and electro-mechanical technicians.
“This field is so broad and gives our students a number of career options to pursue,” said Leija. “And because the majority of our training is hands-on our students are highly skilled and ready to be productive in the workforce.”
As for Silva, he said transferring to TSTC was the best decision he could have made for his career and future.
For more information on TSTC Mechatronics Technology, visit tstc.edu.