Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

May 9, 2013

‘Here is our reward’

34 earn degrees at Purdue University College of Technology Kokomo commencement.

David Sitzes spent six years roaming the world on a submarine as a nuclear reactor operator for the U.S. Navy.

For three months at a time, he monitored temperature and pressure controls on the reactor to make sure it didn’t blow up.

“That’s it,” he said Wednesday night. “No big deal.”

The job kept him away from his family 80 percent of the year, though. So, at some point, he decided he wanted more — a stable life and children.

He wanted to continue working with electronics once he got out of the Navy, but he couldn’t find a job.

“I had the experience,” he said. “I just needed the degree.”

The now-27-year-old enrolled at Purdue University College of Technology Kokomo four years ago to earn a degree in electrical engineering technology and finally saw the fruits of his labor Wednesday night.

Donning a cap and gown, Sitzes walked across the stage in Haven’s Auditorium at Indiana University Kokomo to receive his degree. He was among 34 graduates at the Kokomo campus.

“I’m thrilled,” he said. “I’m ready to get to work.”

Sitzes found a job as an electrical engineer for a company in Indianapolis. He started two days ago.

Other graduates shared similar success stories as they waited for commencement to begin.

Twenty-three-year-old Heidi Ryan earned her degree in organizational leadership and supervision and already has a job as a supervisor at Chrysler.

While Weston Bridgewater took classes at Purdue College of Technology Kokomo, he also found time to work on the latest Corvette radio system at Delphi. That part-time gig turned into a full-time job.

Officials at the university said it’s not uncommon for their graduates to land a job well before they finish their final classes. Many are earning degrees in high-demand fields.

The 15 students who earned their degrees in computer and information technology were especially sought after this year. Most had two or three job offers, said Jeff Griffin, director of Purdue’s Kokomo campus.

“I’m proud of them,” he said. “They’ve all worked really hard. They’ve all put in a lot of hours.”

Students spoke of all-night study sessions, complex assignments and 100-page reports. They said they sacrificed weekends and time with their families and friends to reach Wednesday’s commencement.

“We pushed through, and here is our reward,” said graduate Megan Mahoney, who gave the class response.

With their degrees, Wednesday’s graduates are poised to find better ways to program a computer or wire a circuit. They’re not encumbered by conventional thinking, Associate Dean Andrew Schaffer said during his commencement address.

“You learned how to come up with solutions no one else has thought of,” he said.

Success won’t come without work, though. And the students have to have the courage to take the first steps. Brilliant minds have been wasted because they never even started their lives, Schaffer said.

“Today you’re at the starting point of a great new journey,” Schaffer said. “Every one of you will change the world. How you change it is up to you.”

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Former county official pleads guilty to conversion One of two former county officials charged with theft and official misconduct was sentenced last week to a two-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges. Darrell Reed, 52, pleaded guilty to two Class A misdemeanor conversio

    July 24, 2014

  • NWS - KT072514 Kokomo School Board - pic Blueprints found during demolition aid Central Middle School remodel

    When workers began the tear down for renovations to the Central Middle School auditorium, they stumbled upon something very important and helpful sifting through the century-old material. Tucked away inside the structure were the original blueprints,

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bona Vista to build new $1.23 million housing development Bona Vista Programs has announced it plans to build a new $1.23 million housing development in downtown Kokomo to accommodate people with disabilities. The new 6,500-square-foot housing unit called Elmwood Trails will be located at 1101 N. Buckeye St

    July 24, 2014

  • Burlington woman charged in May fatal crash A 26-year-old Burlington woman is being accused of driving drunk causing the death of a Frankfort man in a May 2 accident near the Howard-Tipton county line. Howard County sheriff deputies served a warrant on Casie E. Johnson on Wednesday charging he

    July 24, 2014

  • Lake Co. judge strikes down Indiana right-to-work INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Lake County judge struck down Indiana's right-to-work ban on certain union fees in a second legal blow to the contentious law passed in 2012. Lake County Circuit Court Judge George Paras determined the law violates the state co

    July 24, 2014

  • Kokomo man charged with sexual misconduct with a minor Kokomo police arrested a 20-year-old man Tuesday afternoon on a warrant charging him with sexual misconduct with a minor involving a 14-year-old girl.Officers arrested Malachi Ely at 4:38 p.m. at his residence in the 500 block of South Goyer Road on

    July 24, 2014

  • Howard County rejected for state preschool pilot Howard County is not among the five counties selected for Indiana’s new preschool voucher pilot.Gov. Mike Pence announced Tuesday that Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties will roll out the program in 2015. Eighteen counties, includi

    July 24, 2014

  • Peru dam Who should fix the dams? PERU — Who has jurisdiction over six dams located in the Hidden Hills housing addition just north of Peru, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources or the people who own the land?It’s a question with a lot riding on it — more than $1.5 million, in

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kokomo Airport runway extension nearing completion After more than a decade of waiting, a runway extension project that will allow the Kokomo Municipal Airport to attract new business will soon be prepared for takeoff.The project, which will extend the airport’s main runway from 5,200 feet to 6,000 f

    July 24, 2014

  • NWS KT 072314 Serena Youth Center pic Serena Youth Center to offer safe haven for young women

    Young women in Kokomo in need of security and additional support will soon have a new place to call home as plans move forward to open the Serena Youth Center. On Tuesday, Coordinated Assistance Ministries Inc. closed on a property for the youth cent

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries