A relentless sun and heat index in the triple digits were not enough to deter applicants, prospective students and community members from attending Texas State Technical College’s drive-thru recruitment event Thursday on the Harlingen campus.
Vehicles began lining up 30 minutes before the event’s official start time for the opportunity to cruise around the tents, which represented more than 17 hybrid and online programs.
Charisma Rodriguez was in one of those vehicles, parked at the table for TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program. Years ago, Rodriguez figured she would give dentistry a try. When she became certified as a dental assistant, she realized she really liked it.
After the birth of her child, Rodriguez decided it was time to return to school.
“I want to come back for dental hygiene,” she said.
Vivienne Cermeno, a TSTC Dental Hygiene instructor, handed out packets containing program requirements and small tubes of toothpaste to interested attendees. By her estimation, she had already spoken with a dozen people about the program within the first hour.
Cermeno was an enthusiastic source of information for attendees.
“I’ve always liked going to the dentist — I was one of those weird kids,” she said. “Every time I’d go in, the hygienists were always really nice. Everything smelled like mint, and it was very clean.”
Cermeno is also a TSTC Dental Hygiene alumna.
“Since I was here, I always told my instructors it was my dream to come back and teach,” she said. “It’s my first year teaching — I’m so excited.”
In addition to allied health, programs within the fields of engineering and manufacturing, environmental and safety, and other industries set up tables beneath large, white tents on the campus. Many of them distributed information, candy and other small items, and a cooler full of cold water helped attendees beat the heat.
“It’s super exciting that we finally have an on-campus event, this large, for the community,” said Jean Lashbrook, a TSTC associate provost. “The biggest secret of the Valley is our college. This really opens up everybody’s eyes. They’re able to come on campus and see what we’ve got. And the students actually being able to talk with the programs one-on-one is great.”
Applicants and prospective students who attended were entered into a drawing for a $1,500 scholarship, which was set to be drawn Friday.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.