International Women in Engineering Day: TSTC celebrates women pursuing technical careers

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TSTC students Taylor Smith (left) and Ana Garcia, who are studying Precision Machining Technology and Mechatronics Technology, respectively, are building the foundations for future engineering-related careers. (Courtesy: Texas State Technical College/TSTC)

HARLINGEN — International Women in Engineering Day, observed annually on June 23, not only honors the achievements of women in engineering-related fields, but also celebrates the young women who will follow in their footsteps or blaze trails of their own.

Two such young women are Texas State Technical College students Ana Garcia and Taylor Smith.

Garcia, who is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Mechatronics Technology, said she was first introduced to engineering at Port Isabel Early College High School.

“I joined the robotics club during my junior year of high school,” she said. “Our teacher taught us about electronics and engineering because our team had to program, design and build a robot.”

After Garcia graduated from high school, she pondered pursuing a college degree. Her curiosity led her to TSTC’s website, where she read about the Mechatronics Technology program.

“The program had electronics and robotics courses, so I enrolled,” she said. “I really enjoyed the Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems course that I took in my second semester. I learned how to connect hoses to make a piston work. I also learned how the oil flows through the hoses, and how they will get stuck if you don’t place them on correctly.”

Smith is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Precision Machining Technology. Her interest in engineering started when she played with Legos as a child and continued when she was a teenager and worked on some projects with her father.

“My father used to be a mechanical engineer,” she said. “A project we worked on was a rotary router. We followed an instruction manual that explained which items it needed and how to build it.”

Smith cited some women in the history of science who inspired her career path.

“There was Marie Curie who discovered radium,” she said. “There were also the African American women who contributed as mathematicians and ‘human computers’ at NASA during the Apollo moon landing mission. I found the determination by these women to be successful despite all odds very inspirational.”

Smith said she learns best by being hands-on and learning from her mistakes.

“I’m doing my best to soak up the knowledge and skills to become a professional machinist,” she said.

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