College of the Mainland professor Larry Purswell, second from left, is wired for sound during a video shoot for a National Science Foundation-funded video while COM student Monica Olguin, second from right, chats with field producer Evelyn Gruber, far rigCollege of the Mainland professor Larry Purswell, second from left, demonstrates how the distillation unit works to COM student Monica Olguin, far left, during a video shoot for a National Science Foundation-funded video.

Two College of the Mainland process technology students shared their stories and college experiences in a recent National Science Foundation-funded video shoot at COM. The Spanish-language video is part of NSF's Advanced Technological Education program and designed to motivate students to enter the burgeoning field.

During the shoot COM graduate Nancy Perez discussed graduating at 19 with an associate degree in process technology as a COM Collegiate High School student. She now works for Shell.

The video also followed COM student Monica Olguin, the president of the COM PTEC Club, in her classes, at home and in the COM process technology lab, where students gain hands-on experience by operating the 10-foot glycol
separation unit.

"We simulate working in a plant," said Jerry Duncan, process technology program coordinator. "That really sets us apart."

Olguin is part of the growing number of women determined to enter the field, and her enthusiasm bubbles on the screen.

"She was brilliant," said field producer Evelyn Gruber, whose previous experiences include shooting film for NBC's Today Show and Reuter's.

Olguin’s story has already inspired Olguin’s younger sister, who said that she wanted to be like her older sister and enter the process technology field.

The video aims to show students the open doors that process technology graduates face in industries from energy to food processing. The COM process technology program boasts one of the highest job placement rates in the
state: nearly 89 percent in 2011-12.

Unlike many science, math and technology degrees, the COM process technology program has no prerequisites to the introduction class. While including rigorous courses in chemistry, physics and math, the program incorporates
hands-on learning as students learn through skits, sketching and teamwork.

To learn more about COM’s process technology program’s classes offered at a nearly a third of the cost of private institutions, visit