Student Spotlight: Mechatronics students sets his sights on prevention

Prevention versus reaction. That’s what recent college graduate Ryan Witmer wants to build a career doing.

The Pennsylvania College of Technology mechatronics graduate already has left the area to take a job in his chosen career field. A job his professor, Howard Troup, said will be a good fit for the star student.

After Witmer’s college internship his employer reached out to Troup asking for more students like him. This, coupled with his work ethic and being a 4.0 student, Troup said he had no problem endorsing Witmer.

Witmer didn’t always want to go into a mechanical field. Like many other teenagers, he started out with dreams of being a professional baseball player. But a course in his senior year of high school pointed him down the “fix it” path – or in Witmer’s case, prevent it.

“Everything that I learned in high school, was I needed to fix it. Here, I can build it, I can fix it, I can prevent it from being broken in the first place,” Witmer said.

With the progress of technology, the field of mechatronics has shifted away from fixing a problem after it happens to fixing it before it happens, Troup said. New devices that measure vibrations and inferred can show where a problem may arise in the future and give the mechatronics team time to plan and prepare for it.

Troup added that many of these devices can be linked to smartphones and alert a tech the moment an issue is discovered.

“They can go take care of it before it becomes a catastrophic failure,” Troup said.

Witmer hopes to go far down his chosen career path, expecting to advance into a management role in the future. He commended Penn College for aptly preparing him for the job.

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