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Bedford Students Receives Award For Excellence
Updated February 23, 2017 7:33 AM | Filed under: Education
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Vincennes University recipients of the Award for Excellence are, from left, Kyle Freyberger, Brock Fields, Henry Steckler, Drew Brown, Jonathan Anderson, Eli Schnarr, Chris Downey, Brett McCandless, Timothy Hedrick, and Jacob Rumsey.

(VINCENNES) - Vincennes University students and programs are the recipients of Indiana College and Career Readiness Awards for Excellence.

The awards were presented at a February 17 ceremony at the Indiana Government Center in Indianapolis.

Brock Fields and Jacob Rumsey both of Bedford were recognized.

Eight VU students were honored in addition to two programs, VU's Advanced Manufacturing Automation Technology and VU's Advanced Internship in Manufacturing (AIM) Partnership which also includes Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Heartland Automotive, Caterpillar Lafayette Engine Center, and
voestalpine Rotec Inc.

The Indiana Career and Technical Education Awards for Excellence Program recognizes exemplary programs, students, and partnerships that benefit the state. The program is supported by a grant through the Indiana Department of Education and by contributions from the Indiana Dept. of Workforce
Development, VU, Ivy Tech Community College, and the Indiana Association of Career and Technical Education Districts.

VU students receiving awards include Jonathan Anderson, Elkhart, Emergency Medical Services; Drew Brown, Muncie, Homeland Security; Chris Downey, Winslow, Advanced Manufacturing Automation Technology; Brock Fields, Bedford, Electronics Technology; Kyle Freyberger, Jasper, Electronics Technology; Eli Schnarr, Washington, Advanced Manufacturing Automation Technology; Henry Steckler, Ferdinand, Engineering Sciences; and Jacob Rumsey, Bedford, Computer Programming Technology.

In the partnership category, VU's Advanced Internship in Manufacturing (AIM) Partnership was cited for offering students the opportunity to prepare for high-demand industrial maintenance technician careers while earning as much as $30,000 as interns. Initiated in 2014 as a partnership between Subaru of Indiana Automotive in Lafayette and VU, additional industrial partners stepped forward to offer more internships. They include Caterpillar Lafayette Engine Center, Heartland Automotive, and voestalpine
Rotec. Students attend class two days a week and work as maintenance interns three days, under the supervision of seasoned mentors. All partner companies have benefited through the hiring of well-qualified Industrial Maintenance Technicians, and students earn an associate degree debt-free. AIM graduates can earn more than $60,000 per year plus benefits.

VU's Advanced Manufacturing Automation Technology (AMAT) program was cited for its continuous record of 100 percent job placement for at least the last five years. One of the strengths of the program is that of the 1,440 contact hours in technical courses, 1,095 of those are lab hours, ensuring students have abundant opportunities to work with the same equipment used in industry. Thanks to VU's Early College initiative with 15 secondary career centers, many students can now take their first year of the AMAT program in high school. Graduates of the program are in high demand.


Brock Fields, Bedford, is an Electronics major at VU where he serves as tutor. A U.S. Army veteran, Fields earned the rank of Staff Sergeant while serving two tours of duty in Iraq and earning the Combat Infantry Badge for operations under enemy fire. He continues his service by assisting veterans suffering from PTSD, helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity, assisting with food drives, and volunteering with multiple charities. He also motivates his fellow students in doing their best. Upon graduation from VU in the spring, Fields plans to seek employment in the area of Electronics Counter Warfare at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane while pursuing a bachelor's degree. He is a 2004 graduate of Bedford-North Lawrence High School.

Jacob Rumsey, Bedford, is majoring in Computer Programming Technology at VU where he is an officer in the Information Technology Club and a participant in several VU Hack Programming Competitions, serving as a team leader and judge. Through these competitions, several community non-profit organizations have benefitted from creative IT solutions. He is also a peer tutor at VU. Rumsey worked as an intern for OFS Brands as an application developer and web developer contractor for the Vincennes Parks and Recreation Department. He also created and presented a program for parents to become more aware of social media. A member of the Alpha Beta Bamma honor society, he is a 2012 graduate of Bedford-North Lawrence High School and plans to pursue a baccalaureate program in Information Technology at VU.

Jonathan Anderson, Elkhart, received an associate degree in Emergency Medical Services in 2016 and is currently a Business Management major at the University of Southern Indiana. He is a 2014 graduate of Elkhart Christian Academy where he was a varsity athlete and cadet fire fighter. Anderson was also an active student at VU where he was a Resident Assistant, Assistant Director for the Office of Housing and Residential Life, and an intern for the Center for Career and Employer Relations. During summers he worked as many as 70 hours a week as an EMT for Tri-County Ambulance Service. He also mentored students entering college. A lifetime member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, he graduated with honors from VU and is now pursuing a bachelor's degree in Business Management at the University of Southern Indiana.

Drew Brown, Muncie, received an associate degree in Conservation Law Enforcement in 2016 and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree at VU in Homeland Security. A 2014 graduate of Delta High School, Brown was appointed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence as the 2016-17 student member of VU's Board of Trustees. Brown's campus activities include service as president of LeaderCorps, secretary of the Bass Fishing Club, public information officer for the Conservation Law Club, and intern for the Center for Career and Employer Relations. He also served as a counselor at the Karl E. Kelly Memorial Youth Camp. He is a lifetime member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Chris Downey, Winslow, is majoring in Advanced Manufacturing Automation Technology. He is a 2015 graduate of Pike Central High School where he was valedictorian, Academic All- onference in basketball and tennis, and did peer tutoring. Active in his community and church, Downey assisted with building a home for a family as well as participated in a mission trip to an Indian reservation in South Dakota. At VU Downey assisted with a National AMT Conference, including serving as a presenter. He is a Toyota AMT Maintenance Intern. After earning an Advanced Manufacturing Automation Technology degree at VU, he plans to work full-time for Toyota while pursuing a bachelor's degree in Industrial Technology.

Kyle Freyberger, Jasper, is majoring in Electronics Technology at VU while working as a technician for the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane. A 2013 graduate of Washington Catholic High School, Freyberger transferred to VU after attending the University of Southern Indiana. He was accepted into
a summer internship at NSWC Crane where he repaired and did troubleshooting equipment for the Navy. At VU he is a tutor for students in electronics. An Eagle Scout, he volunteers for multiple community charities including serving as a musician without compensation for community events. Upon
graduation from VU Freyberger plans apply for a Lead Technician position at Crane.

Eli Schnarr, Washington, is majoring in Advanced Manufacturing Automation Technology. He is a 2015 graduate of Washington High School where he was a member of the Engineering Club, Beta Club, and played in the Concert Band and Jazz Band. He also volunteered for several charitable groups including working with tornado cleanup in his hometown and during a mission trip to Joplin, Missouri. At VU he played a leadership role in organizing tours of the College of Technology during the National AMT Conference. He is a Toyota AMT Maintenance Intern and plans to pursue a baccalaureate degree.

Henry Steckler, Ferdinand, is majoring in Engineering Sciences at VU. A 2015 graduate of Southridge High School, he was president of his class for four years, co-president of both the STEM Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, vice president of the 4-H Club, co-captain of the varsity basketball team, and a recipient of the athletic Mental Attitude Award. At VU Steckler is vice president of LeaderCorps, a tutor in the Math Department, and served as an intern in the Center for Career and Employer Relations. He is a lifetime member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society. His work experience includes an internship at Masterbrand Cabinets and the Engineering Department at Ditto Sales, Inc./Versteel. He plans to transfer to Purdue University to pursue a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering.

VU faculty members who nominated students and programs for the awards include David Frame, assistant professor of Electronics Technology; Timothy Hedrick, coordinator of the AMT program; Levi Clark, chair of Conservation Law Enforcement; John Ostendorf, professor of Physics and Engineering; Jaci Lederman, assistant professor of Information Technology; Richard Coleman, former director of the Center for Career and Employer Relations; Brett McCandless, chair of Advanced Manufacturing Automation Technology; and Thomas Schott, site coordinator for the AIM program.

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