When Alena Cook isn’t doing activities related to being a senior at South Lyon High School, she is busy at her job, working at Wenzel America Ltd., a company based in Waterford that produces and sells precision machines which use 3D metrology (the study of measuring 3D objects) to measure parts and objects of very different shapes and sizes.
“It looked intriguing so I decided, ‘sure, why not go for it?’ and I really like it,” explained Cook.
Cook obtained the job through Oakland Schools Technical Campus’ (OSTC) work-based learning program. Work-based learning provides OSTC students the opportunity to apply the skills learned in the classroom to real world application in the workplace. That’s because when Alena isn’t at South Lyon High School, she is also a mechatronics student at OSTC-Southwest in Wixom where she studies machining, electrical and robot programming, among many other skills which provide her with real-world experience.
Cook credits attending OSTC-SW for helping her to hone in on her skills. She said she decided to attend OSTC-SW after a presentation was made at South Lyon.
“OSTC surprised me. Every bit of it has been like a dream come true. The teachers are great and the stuff being taught is even better. Even now, OSTC manages to surprise me.”
After graduation, Cook plans to attend an engineering college and either get a robotics engineering degree or double major in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering.
The sky is the limit for Cook who said she will certainly use the skills she has developed through OSTC in the future.
“OSTC gave me a peek into the skills and knowledge needed in the real world and, to be perfectly honest, it made me want to work ten times more than I previously did,” she said.