JWCC Announces New Associate in Engineering Science Degree

The 19 John Wood Community College students who declared pre-engineering are going to be changing their major, but not too much.  JWCC announced its new Associate in Engineering Science degree during a press conference today.

In the past few years, JWCC has tailored classes for students pursuing careers in engineering to ensure courses transfer to their university of choice.  One of those students was Sebastian Francis, who is currently working as a NASA intern at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.  Francis is a junior at Purdue University studying aerospace engineering. 

The demand for engineering courses and the growing need for graduates with those specific skills led JWCC to formalize the curriculum for a dedicated associate degree in engineering.

“The demand for engineers is only going to grow, so now is the time to offer a full degree program in the field,” Dr. Ron Davis, JWCC vice president for instruction said.  “We have shown that the caliber of math and science instruction at JWCC is on par with some of our region’s most prestigious engineering schools and our pre-engineering graduates are flourishing.”

JWCC’s Associate in Engineering Science program, recently approved by the Illinois Community College Board and Illinois Board of Higher Education, is front loaded with high level math, chemistry and physics courses.  Required major courses include Introduction to Parametric Modeling, Computer Programming I, Engineering Statics and Dynamics, Electronic Circuit Analysis, Differential Equations and Principles of Physics I and II.  General education courses are also part of the program.

“All of our students will have a solid foundation to begin junior engineering courses right away upon transfer,” Dr. Randy Wolfmeyer, JWCC physics instructor said.  Wolfmeyer received his Ph.D.  in physics and master’s degree in engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Francis shared that starting at a two-year college helped him gain confidence through one-on-one instruction in an environment close to home.

“Some people may not think of starting courses in engineering at a two year school, but I found that Purdue was actually a better fit for me after I finished at John Wood,” Francis said.  “Science was a strong suit for me, but I felt like I needed to improve my math skills, and the professors helped me do that.  Obviously the instruction is top notch, or Purdue wouldn’t have accepted me as a transfer student.”

Wolfmeyer wants to take the message from Francis to the high school and middle school classrooms in the region. 

“So many students just need that spark to realize the opportunities in the fields of math and science,” Wolfmeyer said.  “I plan to visit the science classrooms in our area to teach some lessons and get students involved in science experiments that relate to engineering.  I’m sure there are many more students like Sebastian out there who can take advantage of our new degree right here close to home.”

Interested students may arrange visits with Wolfmeyer and JWCC engineering and physics courses by contacting the admissions office at 217.641.4337 or rbuhr@jwcc.edu.