Every morning we get up and hop into our cars, turn the key and drive into school or work. We take our automobiles for granted on a daily basis as we live our lives and they take us where we need to go. We never really think about what keeps it running; that is, until it stops running. The automobile is more than just a means to transport us from Point A to Point B; it is a finely tuned, scientifically engineered work of art. Ask Automotive Engineering & Technology major senior Thomas Holecek about the many aspects of the automobile industry. Cars have been his passion all of his life which is what brought him to Ferris and the Honors Program.
Beyond his classes Thomas has been involved in Colleges Against Cancer, the Red Cross, and Bulldog Motorsports Club since he has been on campus. His community service projects include events organized by Colleges Against Cancer, Red Cross Blood Drives, community clean-up projects organized by Bulldog Motorsports Club, and maintaining the grounds and equipment of Cran-Hill Ranch. Thomas also has an impressive list of achievements that he has earned since high school including: Internship at HEIDTS Automotive Group, Ferris Dean’s Scholarship, Ferris Great Lakes Scholarship, Ferris College of Engineering Dean’s List, RISE Scholarship, as well as the National Honor Society at his high school.
Thomas feels that his Honors Program experience has “taught me how to be a well-balanced individual by not only maintaining my GPA, but also making time for numerous volunteer events. By participating in the RSO events, I have learned how rewarding even just a simple “thank you” is, as well as the satisfaction of knowing that I’m helping out my peers and local community. Lastly, I have become a more cultured individual from all of the cultural classes and events through the honors program.”
Being a native Chicagoan, Thomas was in for a bit of culture shock when he moved to Big Rapids, but he did enjoy the change. His new friends in Big Rapids were very accepting of his different background and he has now experienced and enjoyed “small town” activities such as fishing, hunting, and four-wheeling. When he was asked to pick one of his favorite places on campus, Thomas chose the Automotive Building because, “that’s where I spend most of my time every day, and I enjoy all the new skills I’ve learned there. Also, I’ve met all of my best friends either from classes, or extra curricular activities there.”
Thomas chose Ferris to pursue his degree. He states, “There are no other schools in the Midwest that have a four-year degree program for Automotive Engineering. I’ve loved cars all my life and wanted a career in the automotive field. However I wanted to do something beyond an associate’s degree from a technical school. Therefore that’s why I chose Ferris. I’m interested in my field of study, because I’m so passionate about cars and the automotive industry. I’ve loved cars ever since I can remember. There are so many different aspects of the automotive industry that one can pursue, be it racing, building custom cars, body repair, etc. Also, I am interested in my field of study, because the automotive industry is constantly evolving with new technology for cars, and there’s always something new to learn.”
The classes for the AET program are, obviously, not the classes the majority of the students here at Ferris would be taking. There are math and science classes, but there are also many technical and automotive specific classes to learn about all of the functions and technology of cars. The automotive classes also require physical hands-on work that one must be willing and able to complete. Thomas says, “Automotive Engineering & Technology is by no means easy, nor can just anyone do it.”
Thomas plans on graduating in the spring, 2015. At that time, he would like to work in the racing industry, possibly engineering parts for race cars or he would like to be part of a design team that builds race cars from the prototype stage to the finished product. We asked Thomas if there was anything else he would like the readers to know about AET and his reply was, “The fact that the Automotive Engineering & Technology major isn’t easy nor is it a blow-off major despite what everybody thinks. Also the fact that it’s the one and only original four year program in the U.S. for Automotive Engineering & Technology. Other colleges have made similar automotive programs and majors, although none of the other programs are nearly as rigorous nor qualified as Ferris’ program is. ”