Three LCCC students made history as the first in the nation to earn bachelor of applied science in microelectronic manufacturing (MEMS) degrees
Posted May 15, 2021
On May 15, 2021, at Lorain County Community College’s 57th Commencement Ceremony, three students became the first graduates of the college’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Microelectronic Manufacturing (MEMS) program. LCCC launched the degree program in 2018, making it the first community college in Ohio to deliver an applied bachelor’s degree and the first community college in the country to offer an applied bachelor’s degree in MEMS.
“This is a ground-breaking accomplishment for everyone involved,” says LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D. “From the Ohio Department of Higher Education that recognized the industry need and had confidence in our institution to meet it, to our faculty who pioneered this program and intertwined work experience at every turn, to our three graduates who blazed a new trail in education. Everyone deserves recognition for this moment and the years of hard work that led to it.”
Brandon Filker, DeAndre Lurry and Jared Dumont all said it’s a graduating class they never expected to be part of, but they can’t imagine having made a better career-building choice. All three landed full-time jobs in the field before graduating and credit the program’s “learn and earn” model for their early career success.
“This degree is tailored to what companies want,” Lurry says. “So you know you’re getting hands-on and direct skills to set you up for a career.”
Lurry has been an intern at Lincoln Electric since May 2019. He began in research and development, helping to conduct tests for the company’s welding products. Since then, he’s moved into the electronics area, making programs for machines on the surface-mount technology line, which manufactures the company’s production of printed circuit boards that go into their welding products.
“Lincoln Electric has given me more skills and understanding of how design processes work when developing and manufacturing a product,” Lurry says.
That experience gives local companies confidence, too, that graduates are prepared to enter a rapidly changing workforce. Lurry already has an engineering technologist position waiting for him after graduation.
Filker, who has worked full time in MEMS-related positions during his entire education, received a job offer from Q-Lab Corporation in March 2021. He’s now an electrical assembly technician, building the electrical components of the company’s UV testers, preparing sub-assemblies, and soldering.
“My job opportunity there came directly from connections through LCCC,” Filker says.
The same goes for Dumont, who landed his job as operations manager and process engineer at PCBx, which fabricates custom-printed circuit boards, assemblies, and wire harnesses.
“I plan to continue working with this company for as long as I am capable,” Dumont says. “They have plans to standardize their procedures and grow their capabilities. The degree specific classes are almost a playbook for setting a company up to expand and I aspire to be an integral part of that growth.”
Johnny Vanderford, MEMS program coordinator, says that both the applied bachelor’s program and the associate degree program that launched in 2014, have had 100 percent job placement for its graduates. That’s in part because regional employers had and continue to have a hand in designing it.
“There’s a growing job market available for electronic manufacturing, design and development,” Vanderford says. “We built this program by listening to local employer needs and we’ll continue to do so as we evolve.”
Dumont, Filker and Lurry are poised to be integral parts of the companies they work for, as well as the entire industry as they forge a new path in MEMS higher education.
“Words can’t even explain what this program has meant to me,” Lurry says. “I don’t know anywhere else where I could get a four-year specialized degree in the microelectronic manufacturing field. Not only that, but at a community college where it’s affordable.”
And in trying something new, these three have learned not only new skills, but about themselves, their potential and their futures.
“I discovered the value of investing in myself,” Dumont says. “I was able to chip away at the raw material I used to be made of, to find the value that I am. I’ve never been happier than I am these days and it’s in no small way because of this college and the opportunities it’s opened for me.”
Learn more information on the LCCC Bachelor of Applied Science in Microelectronic Manufacturing degree.