SHERIDAN — The Sheridan College Machine Tool Technology program is welcoming a new instructor for the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.
Sara Spann, a Wyoming native, is the first instructor hired as a result of the Jobs, Education, Technology program created by Whitney Benefits and also the school’s first female machine tool technology instructor.
Spann will join instructor Randy Whyte in the machine tool technology program. She has most recently been working as a prototype specialist for Garmin in Olathe, Kan.
“Basically my team built the prototypes before they went into production,” Spann said, noting that the prototypes included most Garmin products, from fitness watches to GPS navigation systems.
Though she said her job at Garmin was fun and exciting, she said she is happy to have the chance to return to her native Wyoming, as well as have the opportunity to inspire and encourage other women to enter the machine tool technology field.
“I was hoping to expose students to the variety of careers that are available to machinists,” she said about her decision to teach. “A big part of it is that my field is a very male-dominated field and I am one of the few females. I am hoping that just by my female presence I’ll be saying this isn’t just a man’s field.”
Spann graduated from Bemidji State University in Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology with an emphasis on model building. Her career with Garmin began in 2007.
Spann would like to add more industry-standard, advanced software skills to the repertoire of the Sheridan College students going through the machine tool program. This is enhanced by the addition of a 3-D printer to the program that will allow her to teach students about rapid prototyping and industrial design, processes she honed while working for Garmin.
“The fundamentals are very important and we want to be able to take that even further,” she said. “These skills would advance students looking to join the job market right away and also those interested in pursuing a four-year degree in a program such as mechanical engineering or industrial design. The students have so many avenues to take with machine tool. I hope to give them exposure to an even wider variety of career paths.”