As part of our ongoing commitment to education in Pickens County, Sealevel partnered with the Pickens County Career and Technology Center (PCCTC) to create student internships during the 2014–2015 school year for five high school seniors. Three PCCTC seniors were part of Project Lead the Way and two were from the Mechatronics Program. While Sealevel has had student internships available to college students for a number of years, this was a first for us at the high school level. CEO Tom O’Hanlan, a long-time proponent of greater STEM education in Pickens County schools, was excited to launch this internship program at Sealevel.
Project Lead the Way (PLTW) provides a comprehensive approach to STEM education. Through activity-, project-, and problem-based curriculum, PLTW gives students in kindergarten through high school a chance to apply what they know, identify problems, find unique solutions, and lead their own learning. For educators, the engaging, rigorous professional-development model provides tools they can use to empower students and transform the classroom into a collaboration space where content comes to life. The Mechatronics Program includes instruction in mechanical technology, pneumatic and hydraulic actuation, electronics control theory and computer programming.
Several students were presented for consideration by PCCTC teachers based on their academic standing, skills sets and accomplishments. Student candidates also had to successfully pass the screening and interview process with Sealevel management. The five students chosen were Rebecca Waldrep, Anthony Collins, Caleb Howard, Austin “Cole” Johnson and Dakota Malsch.
Rebecca Waldrep will be graduating from Easley High School. She is a Project Lead the Way Completer, which means she completed four or more classes in an area of study. Rebecca completed five classes, as well as an additional class in machine tool technology at the Career Center. Rebecca was a member of the PCCTC VEX Robotics Team #7447; the team won a regional VEX alliance competition and competed in the VEX Robotics State Competition. She plans to pursue a mechanical engineering degree in college.
Anthony Collins will also be graduating from Easley High School, and is a Project Lead the Way Completer with five classes. Anthony was also a member of the PCCTC VEX Robotics Team #7447 with Rebecca. Anthony plans to attend Tri-County Technical College and pursue a degree in engineering technology.
Caleb Howard will be graduating from Pickens High School. Caleb is a Project Lead the Way Completer, completing four classes. He plans to pursue a degree in nuclear engineering through the Duke Energy Program at Tri-County Technical College.
Cole Johnson will be graduating from Easley High School. He plans to attend the BMW Scholar Program at Greenville Technical College to pursue a career in mechatronics. He scored a Gold Level, the highest level, in two areas of WorkKeys, a job skills assessment test. He has received a ten-hour OSHA card in General Industry.
Dakota Malsch will be graduating from Pickens High School. He is also the vice president of the National Art Society. He scored a Gold Level in two areas of WorkKeys, and has also received a ten-hour OSHA card in General Industry. He plans to attend Greenville Technical College and pursue a career in mechatronics.
During their internship, these five students have worked part-time in our operations department performing a variety of duties, ranging from inventory to assembling and testing products. As part of their Sealevel Internship, each student was routinely evaluated and performance feedback was provided to their PCCTC instructors by our director of operations. All of the students demonstrated positive attitudes, enthusiasm and a great work ethic, which is vital to any company’s success.
We congratulate each of them on their achievements and wish them well. Having them as part of our team for the past few months has been very rewarding! Sealevel plans to continue partnering with PCCTC by offering internships in the fall for the 2015–2016 school year.