Finding Success by Combining Art and Science – Texas Border Business

Laura Cavazos, a welding student at South Texas College, talks about the benefits of combining artistry with technological expertise. STC picture

Texas Border Affairs

By Joey Gomez

McALLEN, Texas — South Texas College is leaving the doors wide open to future career opportunities as well as nearly limitless ideas to create, according to STC welding student Laura Cavazos, who combines art with her passion for science. , technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) .

Always artistically inclined, she takes a minute to think about her next steps – should she use what she learned as a welding student at STC to create “beautiful metal sculptures?” or maybe she can apply what she accumulated as a student in STC’s mechatronics program to create 3D images or something interesting with pneumatics?

For Cavazos, it’s all about being versatile, and when it came to choosing her course, she looked for something that would allow her to combine her creativity with applications in welding and mechatronics, she said. declared.

“I’ve always wanted to be able to build with my own hands and I’ve dabbled in everything from carpentry and glassware to jewelry and metalwork. I love to create,” Cavazos said. “When I discovered welding at STC and having participated in my first welding experience, I realized that I really could do anything, now I want to build, and with knowledge of mechatronics the future is wide open.

With a journey that began at STC in the fall of 2021, Cavazos is currently pursuing a combined welding certificate and is planning another certificate in mechatronics technology by fall 2023.

While at STC, Cavazos said the college allowed him to diversify and get involved in student activities. These days, she attends the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Student Leadership Academy, while gaining valuable work experience at a local company specializing in vehicle air and suspension services.

“I was lucky enough to get a job at IHC Suspension, which allowed me to gain experience in robotics and welding. I can train in a job specific to robotic welding, and I like it more every day,” said Cavazos. “I’ve always felt the need to get my hands dirty. I want this experience, to be under the hot sun, covered in mud and dirt. Here in the welding shop, we are all sweaty 24/7 and covered in dust, and we look terrible; but we don’t care because we’re just having fun.

STC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology program is the first in the state of Texas to earn National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) accreditation, which means program graduates are nationally certified and can be competitive candidates at job search. An estimated 6,000 US companies use accreditation as a basis for hiring.

In college, state-of-the-art training labs use high-level equipment typically found in industry, and early on students learn about areas such as robotics, computers, industrial printing and technical skills.

Professors with advanced manufacturing technologies say one of Cavazos’ greatest strengths is inspiring new approaches and innovative solutions to complex problems, especially adding art to STEM.

“Laura exemplifies the benefits of STEM in technical education. She brings creativity and innovation to the table,” said Erika Guerra, president of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology department. “An example of her creativity can be seen during her participation in the Jaguars Manufacturing Club, where she fused artistic elements with technical expertise to help us create robotics projects. Specifically, she used her design ideas as well as her welding skills to ensure that the frame of a robot she was working on had not only excellent structural support, but also aesthetic appeal.

For more information on STC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology program, visit

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