Class of 2012
Major: Electronics Engineering Technology
Engineering Associate Degree Opens the Doors of Opportunity
Â â€śI have a lot of respect for CCM. It opened doors for me. Now, I donâ€™t have any ceilings to stop me from reaching the top.â€ť
Following high school, James Chirichello didnâ€™t want to pursue a college education. â€śThat wasnâ€™t for me,â€ť he says. So, he became a technician at a General Motors dealership in Paramus. Today, he is a service design engineer in the corporate offices of GM in Warren, MI. The path that got him there was his associate degree in Electronics Engineering Technology from County College of Morris (CCM).
â€śI never would have gotten into GM corporate without my associate,â€ť he says.
In his position at GM, he serves as a global subject matter expert on the serviceability of instrument clusters. â€śA lot of what Iâ€™m involved in every day consists of the latest cutting-edge technology,â€ť he says.
The turning point for Chirichello came when he realized that without a degree he would never advance. â€śWhen I got out of high school, I wanted to make money and I did, but then I realized there was a ceiling that would not let me move ahead any further.â€ť
He decided to enroll at CCM.Â â€śIâ€™ve always heard great things about County College of Morris and that academically itâ€™s one of the best community colleges,â€ť he says. It also helped that the college was on his way home from work.
Now finishing his bachelorâ€™s degree, Chirichello is even more impressed with the quality education he received at CCM. â€śI feel I got a better, more well-rounded education at CCM,â€ť he says. â€śThe teachers are in touch with the real world, and they expect you to be prepared when you finish your degree."
Even though he attended as a part-time evening student so he could continue working, Chirichello says he was able to develop relationships with several professors who helped him along the way. In particular he points to Professor Venancio Fuentes.
â€śProfessor Fuentes was very one-on-one with me and kept me on track throughout the program,â€ť says Chirichello. â€śWithout his encouragement and the knowledge that I received at CCM, I wouldnâ€™t have been able to reach for my dreams. I have a lot of respect for CCM. It opened doors for me. Now, I donâ€™t have any ceilings to stop me from reaching the top.â€ť