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Jonathan AllenRCC provided foundation for transfer to OIT

With an eye on the future, Jonathan Allen is developing his mechanical engineering skills and knowledge through his studies at Rogue Community College.

Manufacturing is reportedly making a comeback nationwide, and Allen will be well positioned for a rewarding new career. He will graduate in June with two degrees — an Associate of Arts and Science in manufacturing/engineering technology, and an Associate of Arts-Oregon Transfer — as well as having earned three certificates: Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Operator; CNC Technician; and High Technology Studies.

Allen, 24, will transfer next fall to Oregon Institute of Technology’s new campus in Wilsonville. He will start at Oregon Tech as a junior and pursue bachelors’ degrees in manufacturing engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology.

“RCC provided great preparation,” he said. “You could go straight from lectures and text books into the lab, making things and getting your hands dirty. The program has all the tools you need, like a 3-D printer and high-end CNC machinery.”

Allen, who served as math tutor with TRiO Support Services and was a student worker in Enrollment Services, had only planned to earn a two-year degree at RCC and then get a job.

“But I realized I was doing well and had the confidence to continue my education,” he said. He is especially interested in robotics and automated machining with a focus on the firearm and tools industries. “I love to build things and learn how things work. The whole process is like art. . .you take a mass of metal and create something.”

Allen’s late father, Nathan, owned a fabrication business, which meant Jonathan grew up around tools and technology. A graduate of North Valley High School, he worked in construction and built custom pools before the economy crashed.

“I enjoyed the job, but it was a dead end,” he said. “I came back to school after my dad died in 2010 because I wanted to make something of myself. My dad was an inspiration. It’s important to me to be the first one in my family to have a college education.”

Allen encourages students to connect with instructors, noting that Steve Foster, chair of the RCC Manufacturing Department, both encouraged and inspired him.

“Don’t be afraid to get to know your teachers,” Allen said. “Not all learning is in the classroom.” He also urges students to apply for scholarships including those offered by the RCC Foundation

"I can’t stress enough that there is so much financial help available out there. Take the time and apply,” Allen said.

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