South Texas’ College Tech Campus spreads MFG day throughout October
Hidalgo I.S.D. students visit the Cinch Connectivity Solutions booth during MFG day at STC’s Tech Campus.
The first Friday of October has been celebrated as Manufacturing Day (MFG). This year, South Texas College Tech Campus held its annual event inviting local high school students and engineers to promote careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM).
As associate professor Dr. Esmeralda Adame puts it, “manufacturing is all around us” she said speaking to students from Mission Veterans Memorial High School and Hidalgo ISD.
“It’s in the chairs you’re sitting on, the TV, your iPhones, the bus you rode on this morning, the list goes on and on because it takes a lot to become an engineer and designer," said Adame. “We have so many things happening and with the collaboration with other companies, we are celebrating this as a manufacturing month.”
Local companies like Cinch Connectivity Solutions and IHC Suspension attended MFG Day where one STC alumni shared his experience as an IHC engineer for automotive drop kits and lift kits.
“We’re one of the leaders in lifted trucks,” shares Horacio Salinas, IHC manufacturing engineer. “As an engineer, I usually bring the concepts to life, so every time a product is changing, I know of it because my department receives the blueprints from GM, Ford or Dodge.”
Salinas credits STC for his path into the STEAM field when beginning his enrollment as a dual credit student in 2015, then graduating from high school in 2017 and earning his certificate in Advanced Manufacturing. He then earned his associate and graduated from STC in 2019.
“STC is very helpful because they work with you while you get the experience, and I actually left a university and came back because they were just not as helpful and I’m very big on two-year technical schools before you go anywhere else,” he shares.
The event also held a lab tour where students were able to get hands-on experience with manufacturing machines and ask questions from STC professors.
“We want to teach and expose students to the amazing world of manufacturing that exists here in the Valley,” said Adame. “There are plenty of job opportunities here and a lot of the time students are not aware of [DA1] plastic, metal stamping, CNC (computer numerical control) machining, quality control manufacturing. There’s even a local manufacturing company making stick-shifts for Camaros.”
Encouraging the STEAM field’s importance also comes with the importance of encouraging women to enter the field.
“Women are multitaskers, and those same skills are needed in the workplace here,” said Erika Guerra, STC advanced manufacturing tech instructor. “Their interests lie within some of these STEAM and STEM fields.”
While all STC’s manufacturing technology professors have made their contributions in the early start of their careers ranging from petroleum to mechanical engineering, Dr. Adame shares her early contributions to the community.
“I contributed to the baseball stadium in Edinburg which used to be home to the Roadrunners but now is a part of UTRGV and I was able to work on floorplans that built the locker rooms, and I was a draftsperson for some time designing buildings with another company,” she said.
Other STC Advanced Manufacturing Technology professors in attendance were Mario A. Olivera and Alberto "Bert” Farias and Cinch Connectivity Manager, Rubi Cantu.
The Tech Campus will hold its next manufacturing event, Wednesday, Oct. 20.