I Define Success: Aaron Thomas

Robotics professionals are known for their technical knowledge, but every now and then, you’re reminded that they are also decidedly human.

Take Aaron Thomas, for example. The Ivy Tech Community College student has very practical reasons for entering his chosen field. He’s looking to move up in his career, and he sees a “vast need in Indiana for skilled workers.”

But when you ask him why he’s been successful in Ivy Tech’s Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology (AART) program, he credits something—or someone, more appropriately—closer to his heart.

“My wife has been amazing throughout this journey,” Aaron says. “It wouldn’t be possible without her.”

Like many Ivy Tech students, Aaron has a full-time job in addition to his commitment to college, working for a small Indianapolis chemical plant. That means his wife’s support is all the more meaningful, because she has to make sacrifices, too, while Aaron is taking classes or studying. Aaron is also motivated by the opportunity to finish something he started long ago. He attended college in the early 2000s but never completed a degree, in part because a large-college environment wasn’t quite right for him.

Aaron’s primary focus at present is his AART technical certificate, which he expects to complete within a year. He’s also planning to complete an associate degree and then transfer to Ball State to earn a bachelor’s degree. Ultimately, Aaron is interested in a career in technical sales of robotic components–and he credits Ivy Tech for preparing him well for that path.

“I’ve enjoyed this experience because it offers real-world application and hands-on learning that can be transferred to a four-year degree after you have had a taste of what it takes to be successful in higher education,” he says. “I’m well prepared and confident that I’ll be successful in the manufacturing environment.”

Aaron also credits the Ivy Tech Career Development team with helping him explore his options and prepare himself for the workforce.

“They offer so many resources to fine tune a resume, along with interview advice,” he explains. “They also work tirelessly at bringing employers to campus.”

Aaron’s story is a great reminder of how success may not always come immediately, but is worth waiting for nonetheless. And while it hasn’t exactly been robotic, perhaps that’s why it’s also been so meaningful.

“I’m getting all A’s and thriving in Ivy Tech’s community environment,” he says. “This is very much a second chance, and I’m doing it right and with purpose this time.”

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