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
"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
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
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
"This has opened up my world. I never thought 10 years ago
that I would be doing this. I love it," Daughtry
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
For more information about CCAC's Mechatronics Technology
program, visit ccac.edu/Mechatronics_Technology_AS.aspx.