BLOOMINGTON – Rebecca Stoops is pursuing her advanced automation and robotics technology associate degree with the help of Ivy Tech’s Achieve Your Degree™ tuition deferral program. Stoops’ employer, Catalent, is partnered with Ivy Tech to offer the Achieve Your Degree program to employees. Achieve Your Degree is a tuition deferral program that allows working adults to earn a college certificate or associate degree with no upfront cost to the student. The program helps employees earn credentials to advance within their companies.
“I earned a BA in biology from Indiana University and after I graduated, I got a job at Catalent as manufacturing associate team lead,” said Stoops. “Biology gave me few technical skills so I was missing that, but I learned a lot of technical skills from my job and wanted more. So that’s where Ivy Tech came in.”
Stoops enrolled at Ivy Tech in 2016 when the Achieve Your Degree program became available. She was looking for a career and educational program that was hands-on, fun, challenging and technical, and discovered the automation and robotics program to be a perfect fit.
“I wanted to build on the education and experience that I had,” said Stoops. “A bachelor’s degree has a lot of filler classes and the cost is high. Associate degrees are geared toward real job situations and I appreciate that, now that I have been in the workforce for six years.”
Stoops earned the Siemens Level I Mechatronics Operator certification in December 2017, and advanced to a new position at Catalent as a trainer and technical writer for the drug substance protein purification process. Her new job involves training staff on processes, procedures, and specific manufacturing equipment. She also updates and revises standard operating procedures.
“Automation and robotics apply to many industries,” said Stoops. “In relation to my work at Catalent, I can maintain, fix, troubleshoot, and design equipment for automated processes. In manufacturing settings, they always need people to troubleshoot or re-program equipment to do different processes. Sensors get dirty and parts wear down all the time, just out of daily wear. Robotics is fun, like a puzzle. You get satisfaction in your daily job and positive feedback when you see things start working again.”
Stoops is on track to complete her education in spring 2019 by earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology.
“Ivy Tech has been fun. I’ve been learning things I’ve never thought about before, like how to put together a system with electronics and pneumatics. It makes a big difference not having as many lectures, and having more lab situations. I noticed that everyone loves that. You come in after work and you’re tired, but it ends up being fun.”
Employers who wish to learn more about the Achieve Your Degree tuition deferral program can arrange a time for Ivy Tech to visit their company. To arrange a meeting, contact Jessica Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (812) 330-6349. More information about Achieve Your Degree can be found online at ivytech.edu/achieveyourdegree.