TSTC students learn about leadership at conference

Special to the Bulletin
More than 80 Texas State Technical College students from across West Texas participated in TSTC’s Student Leadership Conference.  [Photo contributed]

More than 80 Texas State Technical College students from across the four West Texas campuses attended TSTC’s Student Leadership Conference hosted at the Abilene campus on Friday.  

The conference was a kickoff to TSTC’s leadership program that is dedicated to creating the next generation of leaders. Students attended information sessions and met fellow students from the various campuses. 

“We want to give our students every advantage possible, and this helps give them an extra leg up by introducing them to either new information or reiterating information they already know. I hope every student takes something away and they feel like they’ve learned a new skill or strategy,” Michael Leroux, TSTC coordinator for Retention Services, said. 

Kicking off the conference was keynote speaker Katie Alford, president and CEO of Community Foundation of Abilene, who offered advice about some lessons she has learned. 

“Everything that happened in the past helped me get to where I am now, so be aware and full of intention in all that you do,” Alford said.

Students could choose between eight different information sessions.

Brownwood Computer Networking and Systems Administration student Kevin Ross attended the Professionalism Pro Tips session.

“It really helped me understand how social media can either hurt you or help when applying for jobs, as well as how to dress, how to act and what to say in an interview,” Ross said.

One of the highlights for Abilene Welding Technology student Mckenzie Smallwood was the Women in Leadership session.

“It was nice to know I’m not the only one who has had concerns about being a woman in a male-dominated industry. And it was really good to get advice and tips on how to handle it,” Smallwood said.

While learning leadership skills was a big pull for Digital Media Design student Leigh Ann Williams, the conference also served as an opportunity for the online student to visit the campus in person.

“I’m in a program that is all online, so getting to participate in events like this really helps to make the college experience whole,” Williams said.

For first-semester Vocational Nursing student Jesse Mendez from Breckenridge, the conference was a way for him to get career-focused early.

“I know I have a little while before I start interviewing, but this helps me start learning those skills I need to be the leader I want to be and really start honing my professional skills,” Mendez said.

The conference lasted for five hours, including a lunch break. But for Sweetwater Wind Energy student Christopher Collard, that was not long enough.

“I think all these sessions are great. I wish I could go to all of them and that we could do this each semester because there is so much information we can learn,” Collard said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.