WYOMISSING, Pa. — When Jeff Jackman enrolled in the Air Force, he wasn’t aware of the educational benefits he was earning through the G.I. Bill. While enlisted, he earned an associate degree in air and space operations technology, and after completing his service, he decided to build on his experience and enroll at Penn State Berks. Jackman will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering on Thursday, Dec. 15.
“There are a lot of opportunities for enlisted service members,” he states. “But there are more opportunities for officers with a degree.”
The Glenmoore native explains that he wanted to pursue a career that was related to the geospatial intelligence work he did in the Air Force, so he did his research and decided to major in mechanical engineering at Penn State Berks. “Penn State has a great reputation and the mechanical engineering degree program is accredited,” Jackman said.
The Penn State Berks mechanical engineering degree is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.
Jackman added that his wife also had a great experience at Penn State Berks, where she began her studies before completing her Bachelor of Science in earth science and policy at University Park campus.
During his time at the college, Jackman gained real-world engineering experience by completing several internships, including two with the Penn State Applied Research Laboratory in Warminster, which is affiliated with the Department of Defense. He also completed an internship with Globus Medical, a company that develops innovations for individuals with musculoskeletal disorders, and his current internship with Watson McDaniel, a manufacturer of steam products.
When asked how Penn State Berks prepared him for the future, Jackman said, “The core education is very good. I’ve looked back on my notes and textbooks during my internships and a lot of material was covered. It speaks to the relevance of the degree program.”
“I also enjoyed the class projects, especially the capstone project. These collaborative projects prepare you for the real engineering workforce.” For his capstone, Jackman and his team worked with a professor on his research: harnessing an alternative source of energy using jib sails, a type of sail used in sailboats, to power a wind turbine.
“The professors at Penn State Berks really want you to succeed. They push you to go to career fairs and to apply for jobs," he added.
Jackman has a job waiting for him at Penn State at the Navy Yard as a mechanical engineer at the Naval Foundry and Propeller Center. In this role, working on manufacturing propellers for submarines, he will have the best of both worlds: a career in mechanical engineering and the opportunity to return to federal service, enabling him to continue his military career.
The core education is very good. I’ve looked back on my notes and textbooks during my internships and a lot of material was covered. It speaks to the relevance of the degree program.
—Jeff Jackman , Penn State Berks student