Thirty-Six Students Applied for Upcoming Year at Volkswagon Mechatronics Akademie

THIRTY-SIX STUDENTS APPLIED FOR UPCOMING YEAR AT THE VOLKSWAGEN MECHATRONICS AKADEMIE -- Last falls Mechatronics Akademie students learning in the Volkswagen Academy buildings classroom.

Savannah Smith

THIRTY-SIX STUDENTS APPLIED FOR UPCOMING YEAR AT THE VOLKSWAGEN MECHATRONICS AKADEMIE — Last fall’s Mechatronics Akademie students learning in the Volkswagen Academy building’s classroom.

Brittney Hoang, Staff Writer

With only 24 spots available and 36 applications so far, the selection process for the upcoming school year has become difficult for the instructors at  the Volkswagen Mechatronics Akademie. The Volkswagen Mechatronics Akademie is a new program designed to allow students to explore a possible career pathway and earn college credits, all while completing high school.

“Upon graduation, students can apply to continue in the Volkswagen Academy at Chattanooga State, enter the workforce, or continue their education at a different college,” explained Debra Weiss, the lead instructor at the Akademie. “Students who complete the Mechatronics Akademie AND the Volkswagen Academy are eligible to take the German Chamber Exam. Passing this exam will enable them to be certified to work at any Volkswagen in the world. All of the students who complete the Mechatronics Akademie will have over 40 credits towards an Associate’ degree. All of the students will have also learned valuable job skills if they choose to enter the work force.”

The deadline for the application to the Akademie was March 31. All interested students and eligible were to turn in their applications for the upcoming fall.

“Interested students were required to obtain two references and complete an online interest form. Students must be able to work independently and be self-disciplined to meet deadlines,” informed Weiss. “Students should enjoy hands-on learning. However, they should also realize that part of that learning is at the college level. Frequent papers are a part of some of the college courses. Keeping accurate learning ledgers and submitting them in a timely manner is critical.”

The Mechatronics Akademie Program is of its own kind in various way. For one, the classroom setting is not a typical one. Not only does the classroom deviate from the typical setting, the material learned is just as different.

“Students can ride the daily bus from Central or drive directly to Volkswagen,” elucidated Weiss. “The morning session from 7:15 A.M. to 9:00 A.M. consists of lab work – either in the computer lab or in the welding lab. High school and college classes run from nine until two.”

“My school day changes from day to day, we have to be flexible. We weld, and take college classes through Chattanooga State. We go to school at Volkswagen Chattanooga and we take a bus over there from Central,” elaborated Joseph Miller, a junior Mechatronics Akademie student. “I love it there; I enjoy going to school everyday, and the feeling is pretty much shared among the other students as well. There isn’t really another program like this one; it really it’s really one of a kind. I recommend it to others because it’s fun. We get college credit and get to do things that other kids don’t. On the flip side, it’s a lot of work, a lot more than a typical school.”

Most of the students that have gone through the new program have expressed appreciation for the experience and some even plan on coming back for the upcoming school year.

“What caught my eye about it was how different and unique it was,” phonated Miller. “I would and am going back next year. I’m really looking forward to it.”