Ivy Tech and IUPUI grad/system designer, Johnson Controls
Hometown and high school: Indianapolis, Indianapolis Christian High School
College choice: Michael was a top student in high school. He wanted to study engineering and was interested in aeronautics. “I didn’t want to go off to a big school or out of state.” He chose Ivy Tech because it offered a two-year associate degree program in mechanical engineering technology with the opportunity to transfer to IUPUI and earn a bachelor’s degree.
What it was like: A lot of people don’t know the difference between the mechanical engineering program and the mechanical engineering technology program. I like to work with my hands and I wanted to get in a program where I could make things and test things out. Mechanical engineering technology is more hands-on.
Paying for college: Michael’s 21st Century Scholarship paid for everything but books, but he pursued other scholarships to cover expenses. A Bowen Engineering scholarship program for African-American students required him to do public speaking. “That was a big step for me. It brought me out of my shell a bit. I love the program because it helped with scholarships and gave me people that held me accountable and made sure I was staying up with my work.”
Cool opportunity: Michael was chosen to meet President Obama on his visit to Ivy Tech in 2015. “It was a little surreal because I didn’t know how serious it would be. I went through background checks…. He talked to me and told me to keep doing what I was doing.”
Career path: “Ivy Tech helped me develop a lot. And transferring over to IUPUI allowed me to have an internship. I interned at Aerofab as a process engineer, and then Johnson Controls. I also worked for IUPUI to gain more knowledge about facilities controls.” Michael started a full-time job as a system designer at Johnson Controls in May 2017.
Advice: “Figure out what it is that you like to do. I’ve seen a lot of people just go for the money and end up dropping out. Know that every path is not the same. My path is a lot different. Have a support system and reach out to ask for help.”