CSCC's Monroe County Center - The Best Kept Secret Around!

CSCC's Monroe County Center - The Best Kept Secret Around!

Holly Vincent
Saturday, July 11, 2020 12:00 AM
Community, TBR, Students, Academics

VONORE, Tenn. – Before enrolling at the Monroe County Center at Cleveland State Community College, Daniel Zavala had only heard of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) but he had never applied it. That all changed after he enrolled in the Mechatronics program at CSCC’s Monroe County Center.

“The Mechatronics program was very convenient for me,” stated Zavala. “Prior to CSCC’s Monroe County Center, I had no hands-on experience in anything and was clueless on how things physically worked, but after the program, I can confidently say that I have learned a combination of different skills that will not only serve me academically, but they will also serve me throughout life.”

Zavala graduated from CSCC’s Monroe County Center with a Mechatronics Level 1 Certificate in 2019 and a Siemens Level 1 Industry Certification. He is currently attending the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) where he is double majoring in Chemical Engineering, with a concentration in Biomolecular Engineering, and Biochemistry and Cellular Molecular Biology. After graduating from UTK, he plans to join the Air Force to serve and help develop new and more advanced technologies.

Zavala stated, “My certificate has opened many doors for me. I have received many job offers, and I have learned a combination of skills that are utilized all across engineering.”

According to Zavala, his favorite thing about the Mechatronics certification at the Monroe County Center was the way the curriculum was learned through a significant amount of hands-on activity and training.

“My favorite memory was when our Capstone Project, a “boat-mobile,” first came to life. It was an amazing feeling seeing all of the Mechatronics components come together. I love that you do not have to have prior experience in any hands-on activity in order to succeed. The exposure to different Mechatronics components can be applied to almost any scenario.”

Zavala also credits the staff at the center for his success. “Without the expertise and leadership of Patty Weaver (Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development), I would not be where I am at today. I would also like to give a huge thanks to Chelsea Falana (K12 Liaison/Technical Training Specialist Perkins Grant) for always pushing me and my peers to do our best.”

In addition to Mechatronics, the Monroe County Center has other programs, as well—both credit and non-credit options for students.

For credit options, the Advance Business program and Advanced Technologies Institute (ATI) are available. Advance Business is the college’s accelerated program that offers students the opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Business in 18 months. The ATI is an institute that offers select students an opportunity to blend classroom instruction with real world experience in a manufacturing setting. Selected students will collaborate with local industry in a paid cooperative education experience while attending class. In addition to the classroom theory, this “earn and learn” program allows students to gain valuable on-the-job training, enhanced employability skills, as well as presentation and leadership skills.

Non-credit options for fall include American Sign Language, Conversational Spanish, Self Defense Class and more.

For more information on Cleveland State, visit or for more information on the Monroe County Center, visit or call (423) 884-2338.

Pictured: Daniel Zavala and classmates pictured with the “boat mobile” they constructed as a part of their Capstone Project in their Mechatronics class held at the CSCC Monroe County Center. Pictured from left to right: (Back row) Daniel Bush, Daniel Leyva Zavala, Colten Wimberly and Peyton Valentine. (Front row) Casey Weirich, Preston Mills.


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