Sierra College student, Nathan Barton, an Auburn resident, says that receiving the John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarship from Placer Community Foundation (PCF) was incredibly encouraging and is enabling him explore his career interests in manufacturing engineering at Sierra College. “The scholarship has allowed me to focus on my studies during the semester because it covers most of my tuition costs,” said Barton who is taking welding, mechatronics and engineering drafting courses this semester at Sierra College.
Up to 13 John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarships are awarded annually to students residing in the Auburn area who are studying mechatronics, engineering, welding, drafting engineering support, and construction and energy technology at Sierra College, according to Veronica Blake, CEO, PCF. “Students may be awarded up to $1000 per year for two years,” said Blake. “Applications for the 2017-2018 semesters are available online and are due March 31, 2017.
Barton learned about the Walsh Family Scholarship while attending Colfax High School. “I took four years of metal fabrication and three years of pre-engineering classes in high school,” said Barton. “I knew that I loved to tinker and make cool stuff but I wasn’t sure about my career plans.”
“What I’ve discovered at Sierra College is that while the subjects are different, I am encountering the same concepts across my coursework,” said Barton. “The practical experience of welding makes it easier to design a project in my head and then draw it using Computer Aided Design (CAD) for the engineering drafting course.”
Barton demonstrated his eagerness to gain new experiences and use new technology in the Introduction to Construction and Woodworking class in fall 2016 taught by Jonathan Schwartz, Adjunct Faculty, Construction Energy Technology, Sierra College. “We started a new wood CNC program at Sierra College and Nathan helped me get the new CNC router up and running, in addition to completing all his projects,” said Schwartz. “Nathan is the perfect blend of academics and hands-on skills. He can design and build just about anything. He will be successful in anything he undertakes.”
Through an internship with Harris & Bruno International in Roseville during the summer and during his first semester at Sierra College, Barton further explored career options. “I started out helping in the shop but once they saw that I knew how to operate a mill and lathe as a result of what I had learned at Colfax High School, I was given more responsibility,” said Barton. “I became good at methodically reading the drawings so I could accurately make the part specified.”
Leandra Wilson, Director of Strategic Operations & HR, Harris & Bruno International, indicated that Barton quickly adapted to the work environment as an intern. “I met Nathan at Colfax High School and suggested that he apply for an internship,” said Wilson. “He caught on quickly, had a great work ethic and was eager to take on more responsibility.”
“I would encourage students to seek out internships so they can see how the skills they learned in school are applied in the workplace,” said Wilson. “Internships expose students to a wide variety of career options and often motivate them to stay in school because they gain a better idea of what they are headed toward.”
Barton indicated that the internship was an eye-opener for him. “Originally my career plan was to become a machinist,” said Barton. “But now I am considering manufacturing engineering.”
With the Walsh Family Scholarship, Barton has been able to take a full load and explore different aspects of manufacturing engineering. “I want to get certified in welding so that as an engineer, I would understand what I was asking the welder to do,” said Barton. “You have to try things in order to know if it is right for you. I’m really enjoying the CAD class right now, and found out how naturally I can think of things in 3D in my head. It is just as important to figure out what you don’t like as well.”
Blake indicated that the John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarship was designed for students who are creative and like making things with their hands. “Employers are seeking innovative employees who can use technology to develop products, construct buildings, design electronic systems, install solar arrays and use their engineering skills to make the world a better place,” said Blake. “Nathan Barton is utilizing the scholarship to explore his options at college while simultaneously seeking out experiences to apply what he is learning. He is exactly the type of student who benefits the most from this scholarship.”