Nine Graduates Earn Bachelor of Applied Science in MEMS at Lorain County Community College 60th Commencement Ceremony

Nine Lorain County Community College graduates earned Bachelor of Applied Science in Microelectronic Manufacturing (MEMS) degrees at the college’s 60th annual Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 11. The graduates were among 2,040 students to receive LCCC certificates and degrees this year. They include Jeffery Boyles (Elyria), Nathaniel Bratton (North Olmsted), William Hardway (Vermilion), Jacob Hart (Amherst), Brian Kachur (Lorain), Ally Marszal (Elyria), Andrew Milchak (Cleveland), and Emily Williams (Grafton).

LCCC graduate Emily Williams

“We are so proud of this year’s Bachelor of Applied Science in MEMS graduates and the choice they made to pursue a degree in a high-demand field that is critical to our region’s economic future,” said LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D. “The semiconductor industry has become one of LCCC’s hallmark sectors in terms of workforce training and education and these nine graduates are now equipped to build upon not only LCCC’s legacy in terms of talent, but the sector-specific legacy that we’re all working to grow in Ohio.”

This year’s commencement ceremony theme, “Our Legacy, Our Future,” was fitting for the college, which has blazed a trail when it comes to supporting the Midwest’s burgeoning semiconductor industry. After initially launching the associate degree program in MEMS in 2014, LCCC made history in 2018 as the first community college to offer a Bachelor of Applied Science in MEMS. Three years later, the first three students graduated from the program. And just as the associate degree program has, the bachelor’s program has experienced a 100% job placement rate for its graduates. All nine graduates have already been employed in the industry.

“We’ve partnered with over 30 different Northeast Ohio microelectronics companies to create every piece of the MEMS curriculum and these companies are always looking for well-trained workers,” said Johnny Vanderford, MEMS program director. “The symbiotic relationship ensures that our classes teach our students exactly what employers want them to know on the job.”

While 90% of LCCC graduates continue to live or work in Northeast Ohio after graduation, some venture outside the region to explore potentially life-changing opportunities. One is Bachelor of Applied Science in MEMS graduate Emily Williams. Williams, 23, has accepted a job as a Facilities Engineer at Intel in Chandler, Arizona.

“I’m excited to start a new chapter of my life and check out another part of the country,” Williams said. “Intel provides a lot of opportunities for you to explore various gigs and roles within the company, which will help me discover within my own career the different paths I might want to take.”

For many LCCC graduates, reaching their education goals can come without taking on costly student loans. In fact, the already low tuition for the four-year MEMS degree is additionally offset by the earn and learn internships required by the program. Its affordability, paired with the high-paying engineering positions graduates are qualified for, makes the Bachelor of Applied Science in MEMS a logical choice among many, including Nathaniel Bratton.

“I plan to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering and LCCC has set me on that path for success with no student debt,” Bratton said.

That notion – educational success without financial sacrifice – has been deeply rooted in LCCC’s mission since its inception. And is partly why LCCC’s student body, including the nine Bachelor of Applied Science graduates, represents diverse ages, backgrounds and life stages. Ballinger noted this fact as she addressed the day’s graduates and encouraged them to take their hard-earned degrees and certificates and create their own legacies.

“Graduates, you represent stories of transformation,” she said. “Stories of second chances, of unlocked potential, and of finding the courage to turn a dream into reality. You represent our legacy, and our future – and I know we are in good hands.

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