Midland College (MC) and Texas A&M University (TAMU) are in the midst of their 5th
year of a successful engineering academy partnership. Engineering Academy students
co-enroll in both MC and TAMU. They take classes on the main MC campus from both
institutions—math, science and core curriculum courses from MC faculty and engineering
courses from TAMU taught in person by a TAMU College of Engineering faculty assigned
to teach in Midland. They transition into one of 22 engineering majors at TAMU in
College Station after two, three or four semesters.
The academy at MC is one of nine TAMU Engineering academies across the state. TAMU
started the academies in order to recruit more students into high-demand, high-wage
engineering fields. Students who participate in the academies have several advantages
over those who go directly to TAMU as first-year college students.
“The cost savings are tremendous, and the students receive more individualized attention
than they would as first-year engineering majors at A&M,” Mike Seerey, MC director
of special programs and the Texas A&M Engineering at Midland College, said. “They
have the opportunity to take introductory engineering classes at MC and then have
multiple options to transition into a specific A&M engineering major. The students
are also able to take advantage of Midland College scholarships and special transfer
scholarships that are awarded only to MC graduates.”
Despite the obstacles of enduring the COVID pandemic during their second semester
of college, four of the students who were members of the first cohort of the Academy
in the fall of 2019 are now beginning their careers.
Lane Tang graduated from TAMU this past December with a degree in Mechatronics Engineering.
He said that he applied to TAMU when he graduated from Lee High School (now Legacy
High School) in 2019 and was accepted; however, when he heard about the TAMU Engineering
Academy at MC, he decided to take advantage of the cost effectiveness of attending
MC and the small class sizes.
“Attending Midland College allowed me to be better prepared for college life,” he
said. “I’m not sure I would have been as successful if I hadn’t spent three semesters
at MC before transferring, especially since that was during the height of the COVID
Monica Banschbach graduated from TAMU with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering
in May 2023. She then spent several months in The Woodlands interning with Linde
Engineering Americas. This was her third internship. She also interned at a private
oil and gas company in Midland during a summer and interned at a water treatment design
company in College Station while she was attending TAMU. On December 4, she started
working as a process engineer for West Texas Gas.
“I grew up in Midland and was homeschooled,” she explained. “I always wanted to go
to A&M, but I definitely made the right decision to start my higher education journey
at Midland College. When I did transfer in 2020, I had already experienced college,
and even though I struggled a bit with isolation because it was during the COVID pandemic,
I did well in all my classes. Living in the dorms also helped with getting to know
“In addition, because I had already taken some engineering classes, I was able to
arrange my schedule so that I could minor in horticulture, which is a hobby.”
Arianna Vela graduated from Odessa High School in 2018 and attended Odessa College
her first year in college.
“When I heard about the opportunity to enroll in the A&M Engineering Academy at Midland
College, I transferred from Odessa College to Midland College in fall 2019 and then
transferred to A&M in fall 2020,” she said. “Originally my intent was to major in
Ocean Engineering, and I loved my introductory engineering during my year at MC; however,
after transferring to A&M, I discovered that engineering wasn’t something I wanted
to pursue. Fortunately, I had a great background in science and math, so I was able
to apply that knowledge to major in nutrition. I’ll graduate in May with a Bachelor
of Science degree in Nutrition with a Dietetics track. Even though I didn’t pursue
a degree in engineering, the Academy helped me focus on my studies and made it easy
for me to transfer to A&M.”
Andrew Sanchez said that he is also thankful for his start in the TAMU Engineering
Academy at MC. Upon graduating from Midland High School in the top ten of the 2019
graduating class, he was accepted into TAMU’s College of Engineering at College Station.
“I had planned to go to Texas A&M for either engineering or biology,” he explained.
“Then I heard about the A&M Engineering Academy at Midland College. I discovered
that I could start my general A&M engineering courses at Midland College. This was
truly the best path for me. I was given the opportunity to stay at home, take college
courses at MC, enroll in engineering courses through Texas A&M and decide which engineering
discipline I wanted to pursue, which ultimately ended up being biomedical engineering.”
Sanchez transferred from MC to TAMU in the fall of 2021 and was the recipient of the
Midland College Younger Endowed Scholarship, a scholarship specifically for MC graduates
who transfer to A&M. In August 2023, Sanchez graduated from TAMU with a bachelor’s
degree in Biomedical Engineering.
“I had an incredible support system between both Midland College and A&M,” he said.
“While I was in the Academy at MC, my advisors on both campuses worked together to
make sure that I was taking the appropriate courses that would transfer to A&M and
apply toward my degree and my ETAM [Entry to a Major] application. Even though I was
in the first cohort of academy students, it felt as if this program was established
decades ago. There were absolutely no hiccups—it was smooth sailing.”
During his time at A&M, Sanchez was a participant in many design competitions. One
of these six-member teams went on to win first place at the “Aggies Invent – Medical”
design competition. In only 48 hours the team was able to design and test a specialized
endoscope prototype to promote increased visual acuity during procedures by filtering
the space around the operating area and camera. This increased the speed and safety
of biopsies and surgical procedures in these tiny areas while also reducing any stress
and time lost caused by the loss of vision during the procedures . Now with his degree
in biomedical engineering, Sanchez hopes to continue his interest in medical device
research and development.
“I do not regret my decision to stay in Midland,” he stated. “Engineering Academy
students visit College Station periodically to attend football games, tailgates and
the SEC Career Fair. So, even though we weren’t in College Station full time, we
still had the opportunity to take part in a lot of A&M’s campus activities and develop
a lot of friendships with the peers that we would soon join when we transitioned.
I genuinely felt like I was an Aggie from Day 1.
“When I transferred to A&M, there were also many opportunities like the monthly Engineering
Academy dinners and weekly tailgates during football season where I was able to meet
students from the other A&M Engineering Academies throughout the state. It was very
refreshing to meet people who had shared similar experiences. It helped to alleviate
any of the stress that may come with being a transfer student. I made lifelong friendships
“In addition, thanks to the support I received from TAMU, Midland College and my family,
I was able to graduate with absolutely no debt! I am thankful to have been a part
of this program and am excited for the future of the Academy.