Mason Lewis jumped on a fast track to an engineering career while still in high school, and by the time the ambitious 20-year-old exits Wayne State University with a bachelor’s degree she will have accumulated more than five years of computer aided design (CAD) experience at American Axle and Manufacturing (AAM).
“I started out as a co-op (cooperative education student) in November 2015, graduated from Macomb in May 2016 and became a salary employee (at AAM) in June 2016,” says Lewis, who is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. “I work in Design Services, 40 hours a week.”
Just five years ago, Lewis was a sophomore at Warren’s Cousino High School when she found out about the Early College of Macomb. The collaborative effort between the College and the Macomb Intermediate School District provides eligible students with a free, fast track to an associate degree. Acknowledging that she often felt bored in her high school classes, it was a pace much to Lewis’ liking.
“With so many different classes there are also different teaching styles, which helps more people succeed,” observes Lewis. “I loved the hands-on classes and being able to choose my electives.”
Lewis excelled in her product design and development classes at Macomb and became the youngest student to ever receive a scholarship from the American Society of Body Engineers Foundation, upon nomination of one of her professors, James Carlson.
“He’s an amazing teacher,” says Lewis. “I’m so glad he saw my potential and did all he could as a teacher to help it flourish. He was the one who sent me to Career Services for co-op (placement). Macomb has many amazing teachers but Jim helped me get to where I am today.”
At AAM, Lewis updates and creates CAD models and drawings, and coordinates the transfer of data between the company and two of its major customers. AAM provides tuition assistance to its employees that, combined with her regular paycheck and a transfer scholarship from Wayne, means Lewis will graduate debt free. After she earns a bachelor’s degree, she intends to begin a master’s degree program in either business administration or engineering management.
“I would love to become an engineering manager or lead an engineering department,” says Lewis, who notes all of her credits from Macomb transferred to Wayne. “I go to school part time so it will take me a little longer to graduate, but it will be worth it.”