About CCAC Mechatronics Partnerships
The CCAC Mechatronics program and various employers/agencies collaborate to better equip students for their careers beyond the classroom. In some instances, students visit the various employers/agencies and in other instances potential employers and industry leaders are brought to the college. This approach to education highlights CCAC's Mechatronics program philosophy of successfully preparing students in the skilled labor niche that make an immediate impact to their prospective or current employer's bottom line as well as grow personally and professionally. Our program is constantly seeking innovative and practical approaches to keep our students current with industry trends and will continue to explore opportunities to bring visitors to our students or provide exposure in the field.
NASA Visits CCAC
CCAC was thrilled to have representation from NASA at West Hills Center to talk about Mechatronics opportunities in the aeronautics industry.
Thomas Zurbuchen, Ph.D. spoke to the Mechatronics class about NASA; his personal background and ascent with NASA; and the role of Robotics and Mechatronics plays with space travel.
"I hope each one of you will consider using your skills to help explore space in the future. Be great at what you do, take shots on goal and join us!"
Are There Mechatronics Opportunities at NASA?
Yes, there are plenty. Mechatronics engineers can work on a variety of tasks in a variety of roles. Robotics is at the forefront of these tasks. Space exploration requires robots and automated rovers and other like items to perform tasks that are too dangerous for humans.
NASA does select the best of the best. If you are passionate about what you do, innovative and attain high grades, you will be considered by NASA for opportunities.
"As an active member of the current industrial workforce, it was nice to gain inspiration from such an established and respected community like NASA. It was made very clear during the presentation that every person and position is of equal value when the end goal is in mind. The person putting rivets in machines all day is just as important as the astronauts that pilot the vessel. There was an emphasis put on the mechatronics filed due to a high demand for people who can understand the theory and technical aspect of engineering as well as the physical hands on know how to actually perform the work. I found the presentation to be both informative and uplifting. It was a privilege to get a brief perspective into something so much bigger than myself."
CCAC Classroom in the Field
Mechatronics courses are not conducted exclusively in the traditional sit down classroom format. The approach includes "hands-on" education with students working with equipment they would see in industry.
CCAC students learning about mechatronics What better way to learn about the program than for students to visit Mechatronics employers to see first-hand demonstrations on equipment that may differ in scale from some of the classroom equipment?
Demonstrations at these visits are performed either by their classroom peer who works at the employer or by a company team designated for the site visit. Students are quizzed on what was demonstrated at the visits. In addition, they complete a capstone project paper designed for them to think critically about and apply what they learned at the visits.
The outcomes from these visits are relevant to the student's education. First, the students observe first-hand what skills the partner organizations desire which are essential for success in the workplace.
Secondly, it showcases the latest technological innovations, corporate philosophy, and role the employer plays in the Western Pennsylvania advance manufacturing community. The insight gained by the students while visiting employers is invaluable.
"I think it was a good experience. It was an easier way to stay engaged rather than sitting in a classroom. I highly recommend this approach for future classes."