OUT IN THE FIELD: STUDENTS GAIN EXPERIENCE WITH JOHN DEERE

JULIANA PELAEZ, CULTURE & DIVERSITY EDITOR

Wartburg students and students from surrounding Iowa schools are participating in a work and internship program with John Deere’s in several departments.

“It’s long term, so even though they are only working 10 to 15 hours a week during the school year, they are a part of the team,” Dr. LeAnne Faidley, an associate professor of engineering at Wartburg, said. “They are seeing things and seeing projects go all the way through. Which means when I talk to them about design, a number of them have seen an engineering design project and can tell their peers and can tell this process we are doing in class mirrors what we do in industry.”

Those departments range from engineering, agriculture, accounting, supply management, marketing and information technology/systems. Students who take classes with Faidley and work with John Deere gain experience that is shared with underclassmen.

“The vast majority of the stories I’ve heard is how supportive they are and how good the mentoring process is,” Faidley said. “All of the things there are encouraged to do to explore outside of what their actual work is. So if you are interested in something they are doing down the hall, here let me introduce you, type interaction and things like that. It’s a really good experience for the vast majority of students that we have sent there.”

Luke Grzech is an engineering science major and third-year Wartburg student who works in the drivetrain assembly unit, which builds the larger tractors in the facility. He is also president of Students Connecting Students. “We are mainly trying to help students from UNI (University of Northern Iowa), Hawkeye, and Wartburg connect and get to know each other rather than be school divided,” Grzech said. “We want to make sure that everyone is included.”

The club connects students from different colleges with events that range from bowling nights, half priced appetizers, development events and picnics.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to see how what I do [in
engineering class] applies to where I’ll go in the future,” Grzech said. “It also helps me with time management. I have a schedule that I follow, 15 minutes to the day. Every 15 minutes is blocked off with something I have because I’m busy with going back and forth. I think it’s a great skill to learn.”

There are approximately 115 students in the program, the program is open to students from all majors.

For more information on the program or to apply, go to johndeere.jobs.

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