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Ian Ravary

While growing up in the 1990s, Ian Ravary shared the experience of many young kids – tinkering in the garage, taking things apart and creating new mechanical devices.

For some, this exploration is just a footnote. But for the 23-year-old from Columbus, this was really the start of his journey into the world of mechanical engineering.

Years later, he stepped foot on to the campus of Columbus State to tentatively pursue network engineering. It wasn’t long before he was back to exploring the former passion from his youth.

“First I started out as a network administrator. I hated it. I switched to mechanical engineering and fell in love,” he said.

Ravary enjoyed the hands-on aspect to the curriculum but also said there were even more intellectual and social benefits to his time there.

“The people around me thought like I did. There were problems to solve, like finding forces on a bridge or selecting the right parts to use to build something. It gave me insight into how things are actually designed. That helped me actually want to stay in school.”

Columbus State’s Mechanical Engineering program introduces students to manufacturing technology such hydraulics, robotics, and computer-aided design and drafting. Practical courses on CAD and technical writing helped Ravary land a job as a process engineering technician at SCI Engineered Materials.

SCI is part of a new breed of a high-tech manufacturing company. It creates advanced materials for uses such as architectural glass, optics and photonics, solar panels and lithium batteries. Working for an advanced manufacturing company requires the kinds of advanced skills you learn in college.

“I work closely with people in production – helping them fix, setup and build processes. Columbus State prepared me with technical writing, AutoCad and machine design classes,” he said.

Ravary said he initially chose Columbus State because it was close to home and had the lowest tuition cost in the region. But neither of those things sacrificed the quality of his education.

“I have some friends that are at a four-year university and we had some of the same course work. Here in the industry, my education feels current and with my field I don't expect that to change too much,” he said.

Ravary cited several professors, including Adele Wright, Shane Bendele, and Wendy Suminski, as being instrumental to his success, saying they “had real-world experience and they used that to help steer me in the right direction.”

As the weather warms, the tradition of tinkering will go on throughout garages across the city and Ravary has advice for all incoming mechanical engineering students.

“Your instructors are very good at what they do. If you need help with anything, don't wait until the last minute. They're there to help.”