DUBLIN, Ga. — One Dublin Oconee Fall Line Technical College student won a set of tools to start her career in Mechatronics -- a field that covers both mechanical engineering and electronic-software programming.
Margarete-Ann Melvin gets hands on training doing what she loves: programming machines.
"Robots are fun. They only do what you tell you tell them to do," Melvin said.
She stayed at home after high school to raise her two children, but after 10 years she decided to pursue her dream, a career in robotics.
"I went out back out into the workforce and was over at Husqvarna, where they do happen to have some of the robotics and everything," she said.
She was a line worker at the McRae plant for about two years, until it closed last year.
"With their shutdown, one of the options that was available to me was to go back to school here at OFTC in the Mechatronics program," Melvin said.
It was a good decision, because her instructor Lee Radney says she's an absolute standout.
"She is very good at investing into this program and that was one of the first things I saw. She's here almost the same hours I am every week, so she puts a lot of time and effort into this, and she's a cheerleader to other students," Radney said.
He nominated her for their TOOLS award to receive her own set worth about $1,200.
"We want people we know that are going to take these tools, they're going to put them into the industry and use them, and so we look for students who fulfill that, and Margarete filled that to a T," Radney said.
Melvin says these tools come in handy, especially since they're so expensive.
"For a lot of us, it's the kind of tools that they actually end up giving us is something that would take years for us to be able to afford on our own," Melvin said.
Now she can hit the ground running after graduation.
"I've got the ability to do what it is that I quite enjoy as soon as I'm done," Melvin said.
Melvin was one of 13 TOOLS award recipients.
She was the only one from Oconee Fall Line's Mechatronics program.
She has two semesters left and hasn't decided where she wants to work, but she's does plan to stay in the Dublin area.
Oconee Fall Line's Mechatronics associate degree program takes five semesters to complete.
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