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From physics to professor: Aubri Hanson uses career to fill workforce needs

From physics to professor: Aubri Hanson uses career to fill workforce needs

http://www.southeastsun.com/daleville/article_5d45d658-a318-11e9-8475-5f622a9660cc.html
Aubri Hanson’s career has brought her from NASA to the Alabama Aviation Center, where she is using her knowledge of the workforce to bring a new, needed program to the area.

New mechatronics instructor Hanson began her education after a former employer encouraged her to pursue a degree in electronics.

“He just kind of noticed a talent that I had for electronics,” she said. “He encouraged me to go to college and major in electronics, and I actually did major in electronics for three years. Then, I discovered that I really liked physics.”

Hanson attended college at Pittsburg State University and Kansas State University before attending the University of Southern Mississippi where she received her bachelor’s degree in physics with a minor in electronic engineering technology and mathematics. She also received her master’s degree in physics from USM.

One of her first experiences working with electronics was with a news channel in Kansas. Since then, she has worked for VirCon Engineering Research and Development, Radiance Technologies and NASA.

“Even though my degrees are in physics, I’ve always worked as an engineer,” she said, stating she’s worked with radiation detection, on the Mars simulation and the Return to Flight program.

Her time in education started when she came to the Wiregrass. Hanson started teaching science classes at Enterprise High School in 2011 while also teaching a LabVIEW class as an adjunct at Gulf Coast State College (GCSC) in Panama City.

“I did not set out to be a teacher,” she said. “Research is what I really thought I wanted to do, and I did. I liked doing the research. I have a lot of publications related to that, the research that I did.

“It was a LabVIEW field engineer that I had worked with when I was doing my graduate research at Southern Miss. He knew that Gulf Coast State College needed somebody to teach LabVIEW, and he’s the one that kind of thought that I would be good at doing that. Once I started doing it, I was hooked. I just enjoyed it. I really liked teaching, and I was told by a lot of students and other faculty that I was good at it.”

After serving as an adjunct teacher at GCSC for a year, she was offered the chance to take over the college’s engineering technology program, which offered four specializations.

She was over the program for three years, during which time she said the program grew “over 400 percent” and had one of the largest, if not the largest at the time, precentages of female enrollments in the state of Florida. She received the Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator of the Year award for the growth of this program in 2014.

During her time in college, Hanson said she was one of just a few women in her program.

“It’s a lot different now than when I went through college,” she said. “It’s changed a lot, and some of it is that women aren’t as scared of it now, you know. If they can see another woman doing it and being successful at it, that’s a good example for them.”

Though there has been an increase in women joining STEM fields, Hanson said she just wants to help all her students be the best fit for any job they apply for.

“To me, it’s more about who can do the job,” she said. “Pick the best person for the job. I tell people, I don’t care what gender they are; I don’t care what color they are. I don’t care about any of that, just does the person have the talent for whatever career that is.”

After her success with the engineering technology program at GCSC, Hanson said she was recruited to start a new program at Chipola College. She served there for three years.

She then served as an adjunct at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, where she taught engineering technology and physics, returning to her roots.

“I loved it,” she said, smiling. “I loved teaching physics.”

While at WGTC, connections put Hanson in contact with President Matt Rodgers and Dean of Instruction Danny Long at Enterprise State Community College to provide insight into starting a mechatronics program.

“They called me, really, just to give them some advice about starting a program, first,” she said. “Then, I applied for the position when they were ready to hire someone. So, I started with Enterprise State officially in March.”

To start a new program like the mechatronics program, she said the school needed to show a need for it in the community.

“Industry has to be on board with what you’re doing, and that’s what the state wants to see,” Hanson said. “They want to make sure that you have industry support, that there are going to be jobs available for your students when they graduate.”

During her time in education, Hanson said she has personally seen the need for more individuals to have credentials in STEM fields like mechatronics.

“The more I worked in the education field, the more I would see industry coming to me, and I could not produce enough graduates to fill all the jobs that were available,” she said. “That’s how I kind of started leaning towards workforce development more, and it has kind of become a passion of mine.

“The number one reason (this program is important) is the skills gap because we’re going to have so many people retire out of manufacturing in the next 10 years that we don’t have enough of the younger generation to replace them. As these jobs become harder and harder to fill, the wages are going to go up and up and up.

“They’re saying nationwide, they expect 4.6 million jobs to be available in the next 10 years and only about 2.4 million of those to be filled.”

Though the program is ready for its first students in the fall, Hanson said she has not stopped reaching out to potential students or local industries.

“This summer, I’m still back out talking to industry, making sure we’re on the same page and seeing if we can create some training classes for their employees to go along with our credit courses,” she said. “Then, I’ve been in high school, trying to recruit students.”

She said she has found that having experience in this field allows her to provide insight for students asking about mechatronics and the school’s program.

“I hear a lot from students that I can tell them why they’re learning what they’re learning,” she said. “They want to know why is this important?”

To provide an example, she said one of the Mars lunar landers crashed “because they didn’t properly do a conversion between English and metric (measurements).”

“They always want to know why do I have to learn this; why do I have to know this math?” she said. “A lot of time, I can give them an example of when that matters.”

Hanson also tries to tell potential students that manufacturing, a field in which mechatronics is found, has changed in the past decades.

“One of the biggest things we fight with getting young people interested is they think manufacturing is standing at an assembly line and operating a screw gun all day or something like that,” she said. “They think it’s what it was 20 years ago, and it is absolutely not that anymore.

“Manufacturing now is, for the most part, automated, so you’re not standing at the assembly line running the screwdriver; you’re standing there operating the robot or programming the robot that is doing that more menial task, and automation doesn’t replace jobs; it doesn’t get rid of jobs for people. It just changes what those jobs are.”

AAC offers several avenues to receive credentials in mechatronics. High school students can take dual-enrollment courses, industrial certifications can be completed in just a couple of weeks, college credit certifications can be completed in several semesters and a two-year program is also offered.

Hanson said the AAC also plans to grow.

“We’re going to become a Center of Excellence for NC3 Festo certifications, so that’s a big deal,” she said. Festo Didactic is “a global manufacturer of process control and factory automation solutions.”

“Another big goal is to get the program off the ground here, and once it’s successful, we want to duplicate it on other campuses,” she said.

She encouraged those who enjoyed hands-on work or those who might think mechatronics is a field they might enjoy.

“This program is for anybody who likes working hands on because the majority of the learning is done hands on,” she said. “This is not traditional engineering in the sense that you’re not going to sit in a classroom and study theory out of textbooks and have to do a lot of math.

“College is about trying things, so if anybody thinks they might have an inkling to do this, come try it. There’s no harm in it. You might find that you’re good at it; that’s kind of what happened to me.”

SEACT Summer Camp concludes with performance

SEACT Summer Camp concludes with performance

https://www.dothaneagle.com/enterprise_ledger/news/seact-summer-camp-concludes-with-performance/article_fd1986f2-a4e9-11e9-b26e-db6ad634981a.html

Southeast Alabama Community Theatre Summer Camp, hosted at Enterprise State Community College, concluded last Friday with performances by actors and actresses from both classes offered at the camp. The camp, which featured 40 actors and actresses, was hosted at ESCC for the first time thanks to the efforts of ESCC Fine Arts Division Chair Ken Thomas. Here, students in one SEACT camp class perform “The Jitterbug” before beginning a play.

The campers, ages five through 12, learned a 13-scene stage play, “The Wizard of Oz.” SEACT Summer Camp was intended to promote public speaking, creativity and social skills in area youth. According to ESCC Public Relations Director Stephen Schmidt, the college was happy to host a great program for the community that promotes the arts in the Wiregrass. Schmidt said ESCC looks forward to hosting the event again next year.

ESCC presents Mechatronics program to Alabama Community College System

ESCC presents Mechatronics program to Alabama Community College System

https://www.dothaneagle.com/enterprise_ledger/news/escc-presents-mechatronics-program-to-alabama-community-college-system/article_59e39450-a4e9-11e9-891d-1b5e693fd898.html

MONTGOMERY — On July 10, a team representing Enterprise State Community College was given the honor of presenting their new Mechatronics program to the Alabama Community College System Board work session in Montgomery. To fully explain and display the program and its future impact, ESCC President Matt Rodgers wanted some members of his team present during the work session.

“The Mechatronics program and other programs implemented in the past year would not be possible without a committed staff working to provide new ways to serve our community,” said Rodgers. “Programs are important but it is the people that make them possible.”

Mechatronics, a program for students interested in industrial automation jobs, is starting this fall at ESCC. The program will incorporate electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering to prepare students in one of the world’s largest high-tech manufacturing fields. Students will study for both industrial and college certifications as well as degrees from ESCC in Mechatronics.
Beginning this fall, ESCC will have launched six new programs at ESCC and at the Alabama Aviation College in Ozark. ESCC is currently going through the accreditation process to have a seventh program, Paramedics, approved for next year.

Rex Lumber, an ESCC industry partner, sent Michelle Schaefer to represent their company at the ACCS board meeting. Rex Lumber is a new business in Pike County that will provide 110 jobs. This company was the first company who reached out to offer a full scholarship to a student entering the new Mechatronics program.

“Through the leadership of the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Jimmy Baker, the Alabama Community College System continues to positively impact workforce development in Alabama,” said Ian Campbell, ESCC’s director of Workforce Development. “Enterprise State is proud to have the support of ACCS and excited about the new Mechatronics program on the Ozark campus. This program will meet the current and future workforce needs of our local manufacturing and associated industries through a flexible, relevant, industry driven curriculum model.”

ESCC to hold job readiness classes, job fair

ESCC to hold job readiness classes, job fair

http://www.southeastsun.com/home/article_c883e57e-a316-11e9-ad0f-770d7e499592.html
Enterprise State Community College will be holding job readiness classes as well as a job fair throughout the month of July.

Two free classes will be held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day in Talmadge Hall, Room 105, on July 16 and July 23. The classes are open to the public.

Enterprise Career Center Veteran Employment Representative Michael Warren said that these classes have “proven to have a high success rate for those who attend.”

Warren and Mike Kozlowski from Fort Rucker will serve as the instructors for the classes.

These classes serve to help prepare possible attendees for the Fort Rucker-Wiregrass Job Fair to be held on July 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at ESCC.

Warren stressed that the job fair is open to all residents in the Wiregrass and not just military personnel.

“This is open to everyone with myriad opportunities of employment: local, in-state, tri-state, across the country and outside of the country at a multitude of wages,” Warren said.

Anyone who would like to attend the job fair can sign up at bit.ly/ftrwajf19.

ESCC holds annual basketball camp for area youth

https://www.dothaneagle.com/enterprise_ledger/news/escc-holds-annual-basketball-camp-for-area-youth/article_60168800-a287-11e9-bcee-4313f6c555d4.html

Enterprise State Community College this week is holding its holding its annual basketball camp, led by ESCC Athletic Director and Basketball Coach Jeremaine Williams. Tuesday was the second day of the camp, for kids ages seven through 12, and it focused primarily on agility and shooting drills. The camp will run through Thursday, July 11. Williams, who has eight years at the helm of both the ESCC men’s and women’s basketball teams, will also lead another camp next week, open to kids ages 13-16. Girls will participate in camp activities each day from 8:30 a.m. to noon, while boys will participate from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is $75 and is open for that camp until its first day on July 15. Here, Williams lines up a group of campers for shooting exercises.

Camp Weevil offers learning and fun to area youth

Camp Weevil offers learning and fun to area youth

https://www.dothaneagle.com/enterprise_ledger/news/camp-weevil-offers-learning-and-fun-to-area-youth/article_726a15e6-9916-11e9-92fd-23a931bb797b.html

Enterprise State Community College this week hosted the 2019 Camp Weevil, offering kids the opportunity to stay mentally and physically active over the summer break with a variety of activities including “Wild About Art” and “Ooey Gooey Science.” The camp was a joint effort between ESCC and the Alabama 4-H Cooperative Extension System, and is designed to help students learn without pressure according to Ann Kelley, instructional resources and community education director at ESCC. Pictured (from left) are Geremiah Brown, Presley Findley, Kaydence Horne and Jackson Owens working together to construct a roller coaster worthy of Six Flags.

Forrester Hall renovations underway at ESCC

Forrester Hall renovations underway at ESCC

https://www.dothaneagle.com/enterprise_ledger/news/forrester-hall-renovations-underway-at-escc/article_7641ea72-96b4-11e9-aef8-1fc8d097af44.html

Enterprise State Community College’s beloved Fine Arts Division Chair Ken Thomas is saying goodbye to his former classroom, but saying hello to something much better.

In April of 2019, renovations began on Forrester Hall, which had not been updated since it was originally built in 1977.

With the updates, ESCC’s Fine Arts Department will now have the latest classroom technology and all the essential needs for a fine arts building. Forrester Hall will also have proper lighting for the gallery space, a new dark room for traditional photography development, and a new light room for experimenting with photo shoots. A new Music Theory Room, a new Keyboard/ Piano Lab, and a modified Black Box Theater are also in the works.

The music rehearsal space will be redesigned and will include updated audio/ visual and recording equipment to allow students to receive instant feedback of their rehearsals as they strive for perfection and in their quest of learning.

“Having updated facilities, the latest classroom technology, and the essential needs of a fine arts building is going to enhance the outstanding instruction our students are already receiving,” Thomas said.

“With the updated facilities, it allows you to grow more as a fine arts student and also allows the instructors to have the ability to grow the programs,” said Fine Arts student Samuel Elijuan Brown of Elba.

Enterprise State plans for Forrester Hall to be completed by the beginning of the fall semester.

Registration opens for ESCC basketball camp

https://www.dothaneagle.com/enterprise_ledger/news/registration-opens-for-escc-basketball-camp/article_514aecc0-9392-11e9-9a4c-1f4f2f0bccfe.html

Enterprise State Community College Athletic Director and head basketball coach Jeremaine Williams this week announced dates and registration information for the college’s annual basketball camp.

Open to boys and girls ages 13-16, the camp is slated for July 15-18. Girls will participate in camp activities each day from 8:30 a.m. to noon, while boys will participate from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Williams said there is an additional camp — scheduled for July 8-11 — for children ages seven through 12. Activities for that camp will be held from 8:30 a.m. until noon each day.

Registration is $75 and is available until the first day of camp. The cost includes a t-shirt and lunch. 

Parents wishing to register more than one child should contact Williams due to pricing differences for multiple children.

Coaches and players will cover all aspects of becoming a better basketball player, according to Williams.

“We’ll go over the fundamentals of basketball,” Williams said. “We’ll look at ball handling, passing, shooting the proper way and playing good team defense and individual defense, and we’re going to focus a lot on teamwork, as well. I want to encourage everyone to come have fun, because this is going to be a very fun camp.”

After last year’s basketball camp, Williams said the most important thing is getting young players to realize basketball is about teamwork and family.

Williams can be reached at 334-347-2623, extension 2303, or by emailing jlwilliams@escc.edu.

ESCC offers ‘STEM Forward’ program for incoming students

https://www.dothaneagle.com/enterprise_ledger/news/escc-offers-stem-forward-program-for-incoming-students/article_1ca699b4-8d49-11e9-b780-dbd7be4b3198.html

Though summer has officially arrived for 2019 high school graduates, a number of incoming freshmen at Enterprise State Community College are getting a jump start on preparing for their collegiate careers.

Beginning June 3 and running through June 20, ESCC is offering a free “STEM Forward” program for its incoming students majoring in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field. According to information provided by the school, the program “assists students who are underrepresented in the STEM fields with academic preparedness, college readiness, and career awareness activities.” Students who complete the program “will be eligible to apply for enrollment” into the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Bridge to Baccalaureate Program, which “provides renewable yearly stipends valued at $3,000 per year.”
Students in the “STEM Forward” program complete non-credit mini-courses in chemistry, pre-calculus and English to better prepare them for what college has in store. They can also participate in field trips to “local and regional industries that utilize STEM techniques” and learn more about time management and study skills from specialized workshops on the ESCC campus.

Boll Weevils’ pitcher drafted by Texas Rangers

Enterprise State Community College pitcher Jamarcus Lang, a right-hander, was drafted by the Texas Rangers Wednesday in the 38th round of the Major League Baseball Draft.

Lang did not play that much for ESCC and did not finish out the year due to having a blister on his finger. Listed at 6-foot, 2-inches tall and weighing 170 pounds, Lang is a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He played his freshman season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston, Mississippi, where he compiled a 3-1 record with a 4.88 earned run average.

Through his contacts, Enterprise State baseball coach Bubba Frichter recruited the transfer to the Boll Weevils during Frichter’s third year at the helm of the program. Frichter once coached at Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as Troy University, Pensacola State and Elba High School.
ESCC has had several players drafted in the past, the most successful as a professional being Newnan, Georgia native Jerome Walton. Walton, drafted in the 36th round in 1986 by the Chicago Cubs, would become the National League Rookie of the Year in 1989. That season he batted .293 with 24 stolen bases and he had a 30-game hitting streak.
During his 10-year Major League career, Walton batted .269 with 25 home runs, 132 RBI and 58 stolen bases while playing centerfield with the Cubs, Angels, Reds, Braves, Orioles and Devil Rays.

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Enterprise State Community College offers excellent academic, technical, and workforce training programs in order to prepare students for jobs that are in demand! Our faculty and staff are committed to the educational success of all ESCC students!

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