Cleveland High School graduate Ben Wyrick wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to major in, so he decided to enroll at Cleveland State Community College to take his general education courses before deciding on a career.
“If you go straight from high school to a four-year school, you are still taking general education courses, so you might as well take them here at CSCC, and they are free if you are on Tennessee Promise,” stated Mr. Wyrick.
Mr. Wyrick basically grew up on Cleveland State’s campus. His mom, Karen, is the Math Department chair at CSCC and has been employed at the college for 25 years. She is the one who introduced him to his major, the new Mechatronics Technology program at CSCC. He had taken engineering in high school and really enjoyed it, so the new Mechatronics Technology program piqued his interest.
“I’m learning how to work with robots, program them and how to find an issue in a piece of equipment if it breaks down,” stated Mr. Wyrick. I will be able to work for McKee Foods or DENSO—basically anywhere that has robotics…I like the idea of always having something new and different to do at work each day; you never know what you are getting yourself into.”
Mr. Wyrick said the program is made up of students ages 18-65, ranging from no experience to a lot of experience in the field of mechatronics, and he likes how his instructors break the curriculum down to where even the students without the experience are able to understand it.
In addition to caring about his academics at CSCC, Mr. Wyrick is also actively involved on campus in other aspects, participating in CSCC intramurals, Student Senate and the CSCC Student Ambassadors.
“Being in Student Senate and the Ambassadors has helped me to meet new people,” stated Mr. Wyrick. “I like that CSCC is small enough that you see the familiar faces from high school, but large enough that you are always meeting new people from different areas. And you are able to get to know them. You can create different bonds that you couldn’t do in high school. Everyone did their own thing in high school, but here, everyone is more focused and open to meeting new people.”
According to Mr. Wyrick, CSCC’s size helps in other ways, too. In addition to getting to know your fellow students, you are also able to get to know your instructors.
“Because of the small setting, you are able to get to know your instructors on a personal basis, and they will even come in and joke with you. I don’t think you can get that at a bigger school because your classes are so much larger, and you won’t necessarily get to know them.
“I like how everyone here is willing to help you, and if you have a question that they don’t know, they will go and find the answer for you. You can approach anyone at CSCC—even the President. He has an open door policy, so if you want to, you can even go to him. It’s just nice knowing that you have so many people willing to help you.”
After CSCC, Mr. Wyrick plans to transfer to either UTC or MTSU to complete his bachelor’s degree. He is the son of Paul and Karen Wyrick of Cleveland.
For more information on CSCC, visit the website at www.clevelandstatecc.edu or call 423-472-7141. For more information on the Mechatronics program, contact Tim Wilson at 423-472-7141, ext. 447.