Deogratias Nizigiyimana, or Deo, as many refer to him, is an African immigrant happy to call Fort Bend County and Texas State Technical College home.
He is a Precision Machining Technology instructor at Texas State Technical College and brings to the table a vast background of experience in his field.
Nizigiyimana is a graduate from North Central Texas College. He earned an associate degree in machining in 2005 and immediately landed his first job, an achievement that he once thought was out of reach.
Nizigiyimana finished high school in his hometown of Burundi in East Africa and traveled to Congo for college, but when the war started his education was put on hold.
“We couldn’t stay in the country and my only other choice was the United States,” he said. “I was scared, I didn’t want to come to the U.S. because I didn’t know any English.”
With help from the United Nations, Nizigiyimana made the journey to the U.S. in 2000 and struggled to get an education while working odd jobs. “I had to pay for college by myself, I had no help,” said Nizigiyimana. “I was an international student and I didn’t get any financial aid or scholarships. It was hard, but I wanted an education more than anything.”
Fast forward to the present and Nizigiyimana is a college graduate hoping to inspire those he now teaches.
He gained his experience working at several machines shops, including National Oilwell Varco, but he finally found his passion at General Electric.
“I started as a trainee at GE,” he said. “But because I had so much field experience I was always helping others. Many suggested I should become a teacher. I thought they were crazy.”
After giving it some thought Nizigiyimana said he actually began considering the career change, and when he got laid off in 2014 he pursued higher education and became a machining instructor at a local Houston college.
“I told myself I would only teach until I found another machine shop to work at,” he said. “That’s obviously not the case. It turns out I love to teach.”
When Nizigiyimana heard about the new campus TSTC was building in Rosenberg he knew it was sign.
“I was looking for a full-time instructor job and there was TSTC with open doors,” said Nizigiyimana. “I saw the opportunity and I took it.”
Nizigiyimana said he hopes to use his experiences, good and bad, as teachable moments for his students. He added that he will train each student so that they are ready for the workforce and give them a solid foundation.
“I hope to teach my classes everything I have learned,” he said. “They will learn how to be great, professional machinists and be able to jump into the workforce and be an asset to their company.”
Nizigiyimana said he eventually wants to go back to school to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. In the meantime, he is enjoying watching his two children grow, spending time with his wife, visiting family and friends and exploring Houston.
For more information on Precision Machining Technology call 346-239-3444 or visit tstc.edu.