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Aptitude test points student to tech career


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Not all young people take career aptitude tests seriously — but for a 29-year-old from Brownsburg, the test was like a crystal ball.

Casey Jones’ father had her complete one when she was younger to see what field she might excel in based on her interests.

The top match? Engineering.

So it’s no surprise to Jones that she’ll be graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue College of Technology in December 2015.

As Jones considers career options, she said she’s intrigued about the possibility of obtaining military security clearance to help develop new technologies for the armed services. But whatever specialty she chooses, Jones is confident that technology has prepared her for a rewarding career.

“My degree will be from a highly accredited institution, and I believe it will look good at the top of my resume,” she said.

Also on her résumé: Two associate degrees from Ivy Tech Community College — one in mechanical engineering technology and another in architecture — as well as a student research project completed here at Purdue College of Technology.

Joe Fuehne, director of the Purdue College of Technology’s Columbus and Greensburg campuses, said Jones’ project marks the first time a student at the Columbus campus has had the opportunity to partake in a research project.

“Students will have the same professor for multiple classes, so there’s a student-professor relationship that doesn’t happen on a big campus, and that’s a big advantage for us,” Fuehne said.

He said those relationships make students more likely to approach faculty and staff with research interests, as Jones approached Austin Creasy, an assistant professor in mechanical engineering technology.

She is building upon research Creasy completed last year involving tolerances in plastics.

What happens when you put pressure on a piece of rubber? It changes shape. That’s the basis of the project Jones will be conducting over the next few months.

“One of the objectives is to determine just how much the clamping force actually affects the final model, and can the deformation of the work piece be accounted for in the design process?” she said.

So if a force turns a circular piece of plastic into an oval, can the plastic be designed as an oval so the end piece is a circle?

She will consider thermal deformation and friction as she searches for an answer.

“The idea of the project is to go beyond the normal scope of the standard curriculum,” she said.

Fuehne said research opportunities are a new and exciting opportunity for Purdue College of Technology’s 120 students — one that would seem out of reach at larger schools such as Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, where more than 35,000 students compete for research opportunities.

“The fact that the campus and class sizes are small makes the commute and learning more convenient for me,” Jones said. “This makes for a more comfortable learning environment where one-on-one help is easily accessible.”

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