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TSTC’s Cybersecurity program receives recognition from National Security Agency 

Texas State Technical College’s Associate of Applied Science degree program in Cybersecurity across the state is now designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.) 

(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Associate of Applied Science degree program in Cybersecurity across the state is now designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the National Security Agency, an honor held by few two-year technical colleges. 

“Designation means membership in a community of educators focused on growing our industry through sharing of resources, ideas, partnerships and experiences that can improve the quality of our curriculum,” Norma Colunga-Hernandez, TSTC’s interim director of alignment for the Cybersecurity program, said. 

Previously, TSTC’s Harlingen campus was the only one that held the designation, which the campus earned in 2018. The designation is up for renewal every five years, and TSTC chose to extend the designation statewide. 

According to, TSTC earned the CAE-CD designation by engaging with its community and academic activities while meeting the needs of the nation, from the government to the workforce. 

Colleges that are honored by the CAE-CD designation have access to special benefits, including recognition from the federal government and exclusive opportunities for training, networking, competitions, job fairs, scholarships and internships for students and instructors.

“It makes me proud that we stand out by being recognized,” Colunga-Hernandez said. “We’re providing a quality student to the workforce in Texas. I’m proud that we’re able to contribute to that.” 

TSTC Cybersecurity instructor Amy Hertel, who teaches at the Marshall campus, stressed the hard work that the six TSTC campuses with the program put in to earn the coveted designation. 

“It’s a big deal to be a two-year (college) that has that distinction,” Hertel said. “I’m excited to see what students do with it. It’s a lot of work on our part that hopefully gets them the foot they need in the door.” 

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and certificates of completion in Cybersecurity at the East Williamson County, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses, as well as online. 

Cybersecurity is one of TSTC’s Performance-Based Education programs, meaning that students can move through their training at a flexible pace. 

For more information on the requirements met by TSTC’s Cybersecurity program, go to 

Registration for the spring semester is underway. For more information, visit


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About TSTC 

With 10 campuses across the state, Texas State Technical College helps to strengthen the Texas workforce with highly skilled, technically competent graduates. Operating on a unique funding model based on student employment outcomes, the college celebrated 55 years of service to the state of Texas in 2020. For more information, visit

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