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February 2020 Continental Student Of The Month: Nathan Harris

Meet Nathan. He is extremely goal-orientated and has a passion for learning.

Nathan has been hard at work as a student mentor and working two jobs to pursue a non-conventional automotive career. Nathan assists his classmates whenever they are in need and is the vice president of the SkillsUSA club. In this role, he helps organize a car show and a canned food drive. Nathan loves working on engines and hopes to use his skills as a young technician to study mechanical engineering and develop new, innovative engines to keep the world moving. 

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Q: What inspired you to take automotive classes?

A: Being able to get hands-on with cars and industry-specific tools is what made me want to take the class. Cars have also been my passion since I was 13. Having knowledgeable teachers and a brand-new campus were also draws.

Q: What is your favorite automotive system to work on and why?

A: I really enjoy engine systems. The level of detail and craftsmanship that goes into a well-built engine is amazing. All the little parts and pieces that must go together just right fascinate me. From c-clips to tiny caps on the valve springs, the level of detail and craftsmanship blow me away.

Q: What is it like being a group leader? 

A: Being a leader for the engine and brake system was fun. The act of leading a team and organizing them around a project was rewarding. I really learned how to delegate duties to accomplish our tasks and rely on my teammates to get things done. 

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Q: What’s your favorite project or repair you’ve worked on?

A: My favorite project has been my personal one. It is a 1973 Suzuki TS185 K dual sport motorcycle. It has been really enjoyable so far, and it has brought me closer with friends and has furthered my education in automobile engineering.

Q: How do you juggle going to school full time and working two jobs? 

A: School and working has been a little difficult at times, but I always try and keep a positive attitude. Being organized really helps me keep everything together. Decompressing by working on my bike or a friend’s car really helps, too. I am not currently in the automotive field yet but I am applying after this semester is over.

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Q: What are your future plans?

A: I am pursuing a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Wyoming. My dream is to create the next generation of engines. I feel like internal combustion engines are not going away for a while so why not make them more efficient. I also want to point at a vehicle and say, “I designed and built that with my own hands and knowledge.”

Q: Why are you an auto tech student?

A: I enjoy working with my hands and fixing things that people often throw away. Also, there is the availability of a solid job market and an industry that’s ever-evolving. 

Nathan has self-confidence, a positive work attitude and clear communication skills. He emphasizes total quality at work—high ethical standards, superior work skills, the willingness to continue to learn, and pride in the dignity of work. He will do amazing things in the industry and possibly own his own business someday.

– Kenneth Bowlus, Automotive Instructor, Cherry Creek Innovation Campus.

Q: What do you think the future looks like for automotive technician students like you?

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A: The experience that has come from this education will put me leaps ahead of others when it comes to the professional job market. Certifications, teamwork and hands-on education cannot be more important. I also think in the future, repair will all be on the computer. The physical aspect of repair will be limited and programming will replace wires and wrenches.

Q: What is your dream job?

A: Any place that I can build something that can help someone, no matter how small, would be perfect.

Q: If you could own any car, what would if be and why?

A: I would want a Porsche 918, this is the first car I thought was a work of art. It is also one of the fastest 0 to 60 car in the world still. 

Q: If you could only have one tool in your toolbox, what would it be?

A: I would have an adjustable wrench so I could always have the size I needed to fix anything. 

To nominate a student for the Continental Student of the Month program, visit TomorrowsTechnician.com/student-of-the-month/.

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