CCAC Mechatronics Technology students receive $17,000 in merit scholarships

Article by: CCAC Public Relations

PITTSBURGH-Four students in CCAC's Mechatronics Technology program at West Hills Center have been awarded a total of $17,000 in merit scholarships from PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (formerly Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute). CCAC student Crystal Daughtry, of Mt. Washington, received one of six scholarships awarded in the U.S. and Canada in the amount of $5,000. Receiving scholarships in the amount of $4,000 each were CCAC students Austin Fitch, of McDonald; Kalie Conner, of Washington, Pa.; and Henri Siyapdje, of Penn Hills (originally from Cameroon).

The scholarships were announced following the PACK EXPO East trade show held in April, a biennial three-day event produced by PMMI. The four students along with seven of their classmates and CCAC Associate Professor Patricia Thompson and Adjunct Professor Rich Carlson traveled to the trade show in Philadelphia to witness cutting-edge technology, innovative solutions and the opportunity to participate in educational sessions. The show featured 400 companies in an exhibition area spanning nearly 100,000 net square feet.

"Our students really made a big impression on everyone," said Thompson. "They made an effort to talk to all the different industry representatives, and they were able to ask intelligent questions based on their knowledge of mechatronics."

An emerging technology, mechatronics integrates mechanical and electronic components with hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics and computer controls in the manufacture of industrial products and processes. Skilled workers are in high demand due to the increasing use of these sophisticated and complex manufacturing operations. This is the second year in a row that a CCAC Mechatronics Technology student has received a $5,000 scholarship from PMMI. Carlson, who graduated from the program last year, received the scholarship in 2017.

Daughtry, who works full time in airline customer service while attending school full time, was gratified to receive the prestigious scholarship. She was also surprised to learn at the trade show how many different job opportunities are available for individuals with mechatronics skills. Having previously earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology, she has since realized her true passion is to work in the technology industry.

"The scholarship really helps financially, and it gives me the confidence to know this is where I belong," said Daughtry.

Since enrolling in CCAC's Mechatronics Technology program last fall, she went from knowing very little about mechanical and electrical systems to being able to program a robot and much more. She is hoping to secure a position in the aviation industry following her graduation next May.                

"This has opened up my world. I never thought 10 years ago that I would be doing this. I love it," Daughtry said.     

To be considered for the PACK EXPO scholarship, students must attend a PMMI partner school, have at least one semester remaining in their college career and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants should be majoring in engineering, packaging, processing, mechatronics or a related field and should demonstrate financial need.

For more information about CCAC's Mechatronics Technology program, visit ccac.edu/Mechatronics_Technology_AS.aspx.

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