CSCC Hosts Reception For Mechatronics Honors Institute Participants

Thursday, September 13, 2018
Pictured: MHI Director Marci Reiter; Joshua Futrell (Wacker); Brittany Strickland (Mayfield); Casey Shearer (DENSO); Jesse Thomason (DENSO); Thomas DeCook (Bayer); Tyler Baker (McKee Foods); and Dr. Bill Seymour, CSCC president
Pictured: MHI Director Marci Reiter; Joshua Futrell (Wacker); Brittany Strickland (Mayfield); Casey Shearer (DENSO); Jesse Thomason (DENSO); Thomas DeCook (Bayer); Tyler Baker (McKee Foods); and Dr. Bill Seymour, CSCC president
Cleveland State Community College hosted a congratulatory reception for the students, their parents and participating businesses and industries in its Mechatronics Honors Institute. 

The Mechatronics Honors Institute blends classroom instruction with on-site manufacturing experience at various industry partner sites. Classes such as Electrical Components, Mechanical Components & Electric Motors, Electro-Pneumatic & Hydraulic Control, and Digital Fundamentals and PLCs will be offered, among numerous other courses geared toward a career in the manufacturing industry.
Upon completion of the program, graduates will earn an associate degree in mechatronics technology. For those students interested in an engineering/STEAM path this will be an easy transition to Middle Tennessee State University or University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, officials said. 

“This started with a vision, and then it took a lot of hard work to make it happen,” stated Dr. Bill Seymour, Cleveland State president. “Marci (Reiter) has been a great leader for us, and it certainly has involved many folks here on campus, as well as off campus, partner manufacturers, school systems, and it really does take all of those to pull something like this together…we want to say thank you. This is very exciting, and we appreciate all of the support for those participating.”

“The Mechatronics Honors institute allows students first-hand experience, exploration and academic alignment in preparation for a career,” stated Crystal Renner, DENSO talent acquisitions supervisor. “DENSO is delighted to partner with CSCC to support the practical development of students and to create an earlier pipeline of well-educated and skilled talent to our industry.” 

In order to be selected, candidates were asked to submit an application for the college, a separate application for the Mechatronics Honors Institute, as well as a 500+ word essay about his/her interest in the manufacturing/engineering field. These prospective students were selectively chosen and accepted based on academic success, ACT / SAT scores, written essay and commitment to work in a team and problem-solving environment. 

Participating businesses and students assigned to those businesses include:

Joshua Futrell (Wacker) 

Joshua (Josh) Futrell attended Sequoyah High School where he was involved in Robotics Club, Boy Scouts and Venturer Scouts. 

“I am very proud to be a part of the MHI,” stated Mr. Futrell. “I’m looking forward to learning new skills, furthering my education and the internship opportunity at Wacker.”

He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechatronics or a similar field of study after he graduates from Cleveland State. He is the son of Mary and Joy Futrell of Madisonville, Tn. 

Jesse Thomason (DENSO) 

Jesse Thomason attended Polk County High School where he was involved in the Technology Student Association, Math Madness, National Honor Society and was a Tennessee Scholar. 

“I’ve always had an interest in working in the engineering field since I toured TVA on their 100th anniversary several years ago,” stated Mr. Thomason. “I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can while having this paid internship with DENSO, and I’m honored to be a part of this inaugural group.”

Mr. Thomason plans to complete his bachelor’s in mechatronics engineering after graduating from Cleveland State. He is the son of Roy Gene and Le-An Thomason of Delano, Tn. 

Casey Shearer (DENSO) 

Casey Shearer attended Tellico Plains High School. 

“I’m extremely lucky to have been chosen for the MHI and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” stated Mr. Shearer. “I’m looking forward to getting to work and learn exactly what I’m going to be doing instead of just learning it from a book.”

Mr. Shearer is undecided about his future plans, but plans to either work full-time after the MHI or possibly transfer to MTSU to finish his bachelor’s degree in mechatronics. He is the son of Mark and Beckie Isbill of Madisonville, Tn. 

Brittany Strickland (Mayfield) 

Brittany Strickland attended Walker Valley High School where she was involved in Colorguard, Choir, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, Oceanography, SkillsUSA and SWENext. 

“To be chosen for the MHI is a great honor,” stated Ms. Strickland. “Not many people get this opportunity provided to them at a young age. This program will help me get to where I need to be as a future engineer. It felt kind of weird being the only girl at the interviews, but I think it gives me more strength as a person, and I’m hoping to gain both experience and knowledge as an engineer.”

Ms. Strickland plans to transfer to a four-year college after CSCC to receive her bachelor’s degree in engineering. She is the daughter of Dwayne Strickland, Shauna Howsare and Anthony Carpenter of Cleveland. 

Thomas DeCook (Bayer) 
Thomas DeCook attended Walker Valley High School where he was a member of the baseball team. 

“I chose to apply for the MHI program to gain valuable work experience and connections while I continue working toward my degree,” stated Mr. DeCook. “I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to work in an area that will further my academic knowledge that is also willing to be flexible around my school time.”

Mr. DeCook plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the field of mechatronics after CSCC. He is the song of Randall and Jennifer DeCook of Cleveland. 

Tyler Baker (McKee Foods)

Tyler Baker attended Cleveland High School where he was a member of the football team, as well as a member of the Young Republicans. 

“I am extremely grateful to have been chosen for this program,” stated Mr. Baker. “I worked hard to maintain good grades during school so that when an opportunity like this came up I could be chosen. It’s an honor to be working for McKee Foods and learning all about the career I want to be in. I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.” 

“We are thankful to have Tyler on board,” stated Jason Hobbs, Human Resources Business Partner, McKee Foods. We see this as a fantastic opportunity. He is going to be surrounded by folks that have been in the business a long time, and we are hoping that he will be able to learn quite a bit from them, but we are also going to systematically place him in different areas that compliment the curriculum that CSCC gave him, and we hope that because of his involvement, that he will be able to pass on information that may spark some opportunities for growth from our folks who may look to CSCC to expand their education, to get the technical knowledge to keep up with the equipment that is there. We see this program as a win/win for all parties involved.” 

After CSCC, Mr. Baker plans to transfer to UTC to complete a bachelor’s degree in mechatronics. He is the son of Tyler and Stephanie Baker of Cleveland.

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