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Degree Drives Grad to Automotive Career

As the job market becomes more competitive, the importance of getting an education increases.  It’s one of the many reasons Hayes Bentley started early and enrolled in the College-NOW program at North Central State College. Those experiences lead him to multiple internships for worldwide companies like Tesla and Marathon Petroleum.

“NC State prepared me for my future career by helping me build a strong engineering background while still in high school,” Bentley explains.  “The combination of taking fundamental engineering classes and completing various engineering projects allowed me to be a strong, confident engineer.”

Bentley enrolled in the College-NOW engineering program from 2018-2019 while attending Northmor High School simultaneously.  He says he chose NC State specifically for the engineering program, “It was one of the best decisions I ever made as I was able to gain valuable experience while also developing a great baseline of skills before entering a four-year university.”

He graduated with his associate degree in Integrated Engineering Technology in 2019.

“North Central gave me a baseline knowledge of how Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) function and their role in the industry,” he says.  “I learned how to critically think about problems and how to solve them like an engineer.”

Bentley says he enjoyed the project-focused classes.  “Many of the introductory engineering classes focused heavily on the practical aspects of engineering, while some classes I have been in later in my college career have been theoretical.”

In the College-NOW engineering program, instructors assign projects to students to help them gain hands-on knowledge that will help them in their future careers.  In one class, students learn how to make small-scale electric vehicles.  “This class was the most beneficial for me,” he says.  “Even though I made some mistakes, I truly believe those mistakes made me a better engineer.  That class was the reason why I was selected for internships at Tesla and Marathon Petroleum.”

Bentley has gained experience with both internships as an Information Technology Application Developer intern and a Process Automation and Controls intern at the companies.  “My daily responsibilities included writing code that will directly interface with hardware in the field,” he explains.  “I work primarily with PLCs and the additional devices that interact with them.”  He has recently accepted an internship at Tesla as a data engineer on the cell engineer team in Austin, TX.  “I am extremely excited for this opportunity at Tesla and cannot wait to continue to apply my skillset.”

He is currently attending The Ohio State University and is expecting to graduate in the spring of 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering.  He plans to attend graduate school for his MBA.

As for anyone considering the engineering program at North Central State, Bentley says it is a critical decision in pursuing a career in STEM.  “Taking engineering classes such as DC/AC circuits and statics helped me build a well-rounded knowledge base before I entered my four-year university program,” he says.  “Additionally, completing complex engineering projects at NC State helped me become more confident in my skills as an engineer.”

“My experience at North Central State College has opened doors and allowed me to have many opportunities I didn’t think were possible for myself.”