Positive Energy in Mechatronics

Thu Jan 31, 2019 at 03:28 PM

Gebrehiwot Amine "G" in mechatronics labAs a youngster in his native Eritrea, Gebrehiwot Amine, better known as “G,” enjoyed helping his grandfather on the farm, often taking things apart to learn how they worked.

“I was very curious about mechanics and electrical things,” says G. “I would ask my grandfather to show me his tools. I also liked to put together models.”

G is an 18-year-old senior at Harrisonburg High School, and by participating in the Career Pathways program, is also studying Mechatronics at Blue Ridge Community College. He spends part of his days at the high school finishing requirements like government, and then travels to BRCC for hands-on excitement using the state-of-the-art equipment in the labs of the Advanced Technology Center.

“I didn’t know anything about mechatronics, but my career coach encouraged me to check it out,” G recalls. “I took a tour of the facility and I could see this is what I really wanted to do.”

Darcy Bacon, Harrisonburg High career coach, says, “G is an amazing young man, always smiling, and his positive attitude is contagious. He is the perfect candidate for the Career Pathways program because he works hard and is excited for his future career.”

G says he enjoys spending time in both “worlds” of high school and college. “BRCC has been such a positive experience. People are so friendly and respectful. The culture is very mature.” Three of his older siblings (Abrham, Aster, and luwam) have attended BRCC as well, preparing for careers in healthcare.

Jim Russell, assistant professor of Manufacturing Engineering Technology & Mechatronics, says of working with G in the classroom: “When I think of G, I immediately think of energy. With tools in hand, he jumps into the assignment and upon my checking and providing positive feedback for completing the task correctly (which he routinely does), I ready myself for the fist bump that I know is coming.”

Gebrehiwot Amine "G" in mechatronics lab

This very industrious young man already works two jobs in retail and food service, and now is applying for a third that fits nicely with his field of study: mechanical assembly. “I know I will be busy, but I really want the experience.”

According to Russell, the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Program prepares students for the more than 500 current job opportunities in the manufacturing sector within 50 miles of Harrisonburg.