When you ask students why they chose to study in a particular program, you never know how the story will unfold. For Kenny Meza-Boxer, a recent graduate of Industrial Electronics, it was a high school physics class on electricity that turned him on. “I went nuts over it,” he says. “I got 100% on all my exams. I absolutely loved it!”
First stop: Trade School and becoming an Electrician
That was the start of the story. When he graduated from École secondaire Monseigneur Parent on the South Shore, Kenny wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. Given his interest in electricity he decided to enroll in a trade school, CIMME – Centre intégré de mécanique, de métallurgie et d’électricité, and for the following 16 months he studied full time to become an electrician. Once he had his certificate he looked for a company that would hire him as an apprentice electrician. But after unsuccessfully knocking on doors for eight months, he changed his plan.
Once again it was a course that inspired Kenny’s next move. During his electrician studies he’d been particularly interested in two courses “Automation” and “Instrumentation”.
Fascinated by how things work
“I like logic. I’m interested in the process of doing things. I like thinking about how you get motors to turn on – what signals lead to a fi nal result. We take a lot for granted in our society. You push a button and a motor starts. But I’m curious about how that actually happens.”
Discovering Industrial Electronics
“My father encouraged me to continue my education. I just wanted to get a job. However, because I was fascinated by production lines and how things get made, I decided to check out Cegep programs. I knew I wanted to study in English so I came to the Vanier Open House. That’s where I discovered the Industrial Electronics program, which is all about instrumentation and automation.”
A wide choice of jobs when you graduate
“It’s a great program!” says Kenny. “I’m very, very happy with it. There are so many fields you can work in and so much you can do, it’s almost overwhelming. There’s an amazing choice of jobs if you want to work when you graduate, but as well you can go on to university.”
Hand-on learning, internships and “stages” in local companies
“I also did “stages” in several companies during my program. My first time in the field, I worked in the Atwater Water Treatment plant. It was amazing. Then I worked at Bombardier and again at BASF, a chemical company. There were all great experiences.”
A week at Siemens Milltronics
“In our final semester, our class went for a training session at Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments (SMPI), a global leader in high technology process instrumentation, located in Peterborough, Ontario. We were there for an incredible week. We attended presentations, took courses and worked on Seimens instruments and got hands-on experience in process instrumentation and industrial communications. We came back with our heads bursting with knowledge. It was also good to meet other teachers and professionals outside of school. It connected Vanier to the real world. We did not pay for the training although it was worth $4,000 to $5,000 a person. That was a gift to all of us. You can’t mess around when you receive something like that. You have to give a good impression of Vanier. “Even though the course was free, we still needed to pay for other expenses such as the hotel, bus and taxi fees. So during the school year, our group held several bake sales and collected more than enough money to pay for it all. Coming together as a team and raising funds was a lot of fun.”
“My plan is to study at ETS – École de technologie supérieure. It uses a very hands-on and practical approach to teaching, which I like. Then I will work three to five years as a field engineer. But my ultimate goal is to come back as a teacher in the Industrial Electronics program here at Vanier. Some of my teachers are my role models and I want to be like them.”