Electrifying education

Micah davis

Nestled in the confines of the Pierce College Village, the electronics program is yet another display of academic achievement found on campus.

Emboldened by a recent departure from the decades-old bungalows, the program’s professors strive to provide students with the opportunity to succeed in the constantly changing field of electronics.

“The challenge, with any program built around technology, is being able to keep the equipment,” said Robert Garber, president of Pierce.

“The curriculum and the focus of the program tuned into where the industry is going and where the jobs will be,” said Garber.

The Electronics program prepares students to succeed through training in fundamentals, electronic devices, computer aided design and analysis.

It also aids in communications, microwaves, digital systems, microprocessors, linear systems and operational amplifiers, according to their Web site.

An associate degree is obtainable upon completion of a “comprehensive electronics curriculum,” states the Web site.

This entails “a mix of theory presentations in the classroom with extensive hands-on training in laboratories,” according to the Web site.

It also features state-of-the-art equipment.

“Electronics is part of everything nowadays,” said Ken Sharpe, chairman of the electronics program.

“Virtually every mechanical or electrical device that has any sophistication has electronic circuitry involved,” he continued.

As technological boundaries widen, employment opportunities for the properly trained technician increases.

“In the design process for equipment of any type,” explained Sharpe, “there is a need for people that aren’t the cutting edge engineers, but the support staff that go into the design of the entity. And, of course, there’s the service aspect.”

Up and coming electronics professionals are often quickly rewarded for surviving the rigorous complex course to graduation.

“After a couple years of experience, with an (associate) degree it’s quite possible to make $50,000 a year,” said Sharpe.

There is no shortage of employment offers for qualified applicants.

Pierce continues to provide its students with the ability to compete for these positions.

“Students coming here are getting what they need and learning the kinds of skills and working with the kinds of tools that will make them competitive and successful in the job market,” said Garber.

However, financial compensation is not the only form of motivation for electronics professionals.

One step into the laboratory reveals a plethora of complex and high-tech equipment that is nothing short of intimidating to the casual observer.

It’s evident that beyond a well-trained mind, the field of electronics requires unabashed passion.

“I would absolutely recommend electronics for anyone who gets the bug,” said Anthony Pascuzzo, 33, a former member of the electronics program and currently an engineer for a music industry company.

“My schooling at Pierce was essential in all of my accomplishments,” he said. “The instructors are professionals and the courses are relevant to today’s industry.”

Pascuzzo is one of many students to benefit from the knowledge and experience accumulated at Pierce.

“A word of advice: start at the ground floor, shadow everyone above you and learn as much as possible,” Pascuzzo said. “Push and take risks to move up the ladder.”

“No one will hand you your next opportunity in the industry,” he warned. “You have to go out and get it.”

Sharpe notes that while you “can’t learn electronics by just looking at a machine,” there is always room in the classroom for students with the drive to become electronics professionals.

David Mitchell, an electronics major, is building a circuit board, taught in Electronics 45. ()