Engineering students support local workforce
Jefferson County is home to a number of manufacturers that collectively provide jobs to thousands. An engineer plays a formative role in each organization.
Hanover engineering students are putting their education to work in the local community. Adam Combs ‘24 and Caleb Geary ‘25 are among a group of six students completing engineering-related internships or part-time positions this summer.
“Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky have a large number of manufacturing and power plants,” said Tim Brooks, instructor of engineering. “The Ohio River drove a lot of that historical growth. Jefferson County, where Hanover College is located, has a strong manufacturing presence. There are several global companies that call Madison home.”
Learning in the classroom and on the job
Geary said that each week Jeff Phillips, program director and professor of engineering, would share internship opportunities available to students. He credits Phillips’ encouragement and support for ensuring students gain experience prior to graduation. Geary works at Madison manufacturing plant Grote Industries, a global company that produces vehicle lighting and safety systems. Geary’s position at the company has expanded beyond the initial commitment of an internship.
“I started back in March, and I would go in after school,” said Geary. “I’ve worked with project management and manufacturing engineers, electrical engineers, and I’ve worked with mechanical engineers there. But for my actual summer internship, I work with mainly mechanical engineers.”
Geary encourages other students to pursue an internship for the value that it offers beyond educational enrichment.
“Definitely do at least one summer internship because, although school teaches you a lot, there’s a lot of stuff you can only learn on the job; the hands-on experience of an actual job and working other people doing similar jobs.”
Prepared to solve problems
Combs’ position at Madison Precision Products, a company dedicated to creating aluminum automotive parts, follows a similar path to Geary’s. Combs said he’s been able to solve problems since early on in his time at the company.
One of his responsibilities is making pin changes and modifications to a die cast aluminum mold. While examining one part, Combs was able to identify an error and recommend the necessary correction.
“I got to go through, make a giant presentation and submit it to a bunch of the managers to get it confirmed,” described Combs.
With only two years of coursework under his belt, Combs credits his Hanover education for preparing him to solve problems.
“A bunch of the classes have helped because they have taught me the processes and knowledge of how to start projects and how to communicate with other people. We also gain a lot of knowledge about certain machining processes, different machines and materials,” said Combs.
Combs’ experience has been strengthened by supportive supervisors.
“They took me on and really helped me out. Dave Dewar showed me a lot that I can do on SolidWorks [a 3D computer-aided design system]. Doug Day really helped me with building connections, being able to talk to your managers more easily or get a hold of them.”
Faculty support and employer relationships are setting Combs on track for success after graduation.
Preparing for the Future
Phillips and Brooks each bring decades of professional engineering experience to the College, and both faculty members have been formative to establishing relations between local employers in the county and Hanover students.
“In addition to providing two of our graduates to Arvin Sango, Inc. and one to Indiana- Kentucky Electric Corporation, we’ve had a number of students who have received internships from local manufacturers including, Arvin Sango, Grote, Vehicle Service Group, Madison Precision Products and Madison Chemical,” said Phillips. “We also have several local manufacturers who are represented on our engineering advisory board, and they’ve provided very helpful guidance as we have built and refined our curriculum.”
Recent graduates have accepted positions at leading companies such as Cummins and AISIN Drivetrain, Inc.
“We’ve had students find jobs as far away as Wisconsin and Florida, but most have settled into jobs in the tri-state region,” said Phillips.
Whether a student chooses to pursue a lifelong career in Jefferson County or beyond, an engineering degree from Hanover will prepare them for the challenges of tomorrow.
“I like to tell prospective students that every engineering program will prepare you for your first job out of college, but our goal is to also prepare you for your second, third, fourth and every subsequent job you have,” said Phillips. “Even jobs that don’t exist today … That way, when ‘the next big thing’ arrives in technology, you can use the techniques you learned at Hanover to become your company’s expert on it, and potentially fill a job that has never existed before.”