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Students Take on Grand Race Challenge

No challenge seems too big for Mechanical Engineering Technology student Brycen Burkhalter.  Not only has he taken on the challenge of earning his bachelor’s degree, but he also works as an airman in the Ohio National Guard’s 179th Airlift Wing.

“Between graduating from the CollegeNow program to today, I worked in aircraft maintenance for two years,” Burkhalter explains.  “I graduate this May and will go straight to tech school.  I can’t wait to use all of the experience I gained at North Central State College in my military career.”

Burkhalter was part of a team of students who built an electric vehicle as part of their capstone project in the Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology program.  Burkhalter and his teammates, Jackson Carpenter, Lane Fry, and Casey Barker put their project to the test in early May at the Grand Race Challenge held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH.  “We worked on the design the first half of the year, and the second half of the year worked on the redesign,” Burkhalter says.  “However, during spring break we ran into major problems and did a complete redesign.”

But all of that hard work paid off.  The vehicle ran smoothly around the course going about 50 seconds per lap.

Burkhalter got his start in engineering as a junior in high school, enrolling in North Central’s CollegeNow engineering academy. “I knew I wanted to pursue an associate’s degree when I was in high school.  I enjoyed all of my engineering courses,” he says.  “It was a FREE associate degree for me and a great opportunity.  I was a 17-year-old starting in the engineering program and now I’m 21 and will soon graduate with my bachelor’s degree.”

He says he chose North Central State College to continue his college education for many reasons.  “North Central is local and the college gives you so many chances to succeed. I tell anyone who might be interested in the program to talk to other students who have had a first-hand experience of how these courses work,” Burkhalter says.

And his love for engineering won’t stop after graduation.  Soon after he walks across the stage to get his diploma, he will be leaving for Missouri where he will continue training for his military career.  “I will be doing landscape surveillance and AutoCAD, which is a commercial computer-aided design and drafting software application,” he explains.  “We use AutoCAD here at North Central, so I’ll have a step up.  These past four years have been a really good experience, especially knowing that the information I learned in class will now transfer into my military career.  I couldn’t ask for anything better.”