Area high school students participate in TSTC’s MAARS summer program

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Mia Lara, a rising junior at San Benito High School, connects LED lights to a motherboard that will be used for a Bluetooth speaker in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program during TSTC’s MAARS summer program held at the Harlingen campus. (Photo courtesy of TSTC)

HARLINGEN — Texas State Technical College recently welcomed more than 30 high school students from La Feria, Lyford, Mission and San Benito who are getting immersed in a college freshman experience by exploring technical programs of study in the Migrant Academic Achievement Residential Summer (MAARS) program held at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.

The program is designed to help aspiring 11th- and 12th-grade migrant and seasonal farm-working students in their pursuit of higher education with a six-week college residential experience.

Students can earn up to two high school class credits, get an introduction to postsecondary technical programs, develop leadership skills, and have opportunities for community service.

During this time, students reside on campus and get hands-on training in technical programs such as Biomedical Equipment Technology, Building Construction Technology, Emergency Medical Services, Mechatronics, and Precision Machining Technology at TSTC.

Juan Flores, a rising senior at San Benito High School, said the MAARS program has benefited him as a returning student.

“It helped me to determine which program I want to study at TSTC,” he said. “In this summer’s program, I’m taking Precision Machining Technology. I’ve learned how to use a caliper tool, which measures the exact dimensions of the object you will be using. Last year I took Biomedical Equipment Technology and Building Construction Technology.”

Flores said his experience has helped him to develop leadership skills.

“When I took Building Construction Technology last summer, the other students noticed that I was ahead in my assignments,” he said. “They began to ask me for help, and my communication skills improved. I enjoy helping my peers.”

Lizbeth Medrano-Olguin, a rising junior at Mission High School, said the Emergency Medical Services program has given her a new perspective.

“EMS has shown me that there are many career opportunities out there,” she said. “The instructors also do a great job by taking us out of our comfort zone. For example, the class learned how to stop the bleeding on a medical manikin and how to apply bandages. That assignment taught us how to work as a team in order to have a successful ending with a patient.”

MAARS also provides workshops for the students to learn about TSTC’s Advocacy and Resource Center, enrollment, housing and the TSTC Police Department.

For more information about the MAARS program, contact Ashley Contreras at [email protected].

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit