Meet the Graduate: Jaydon Elge

A direct path from point A to point B is the shortest route to success. Jaydon Elge did not take that path. Elge graduated from Nebraska Christian High School in Central City in 2017 and enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on a wrestling scholarship as a physics major. Knowing he wanted to do something in engineering, he transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to focus on mechanical engineering.

But that didn’t feel quite right, either, so he transferred to Southeast Community College in Milford in the Precision Machining and Automation Technology program. On Dec. 14, he will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree with a Tool Maker Mold and Die focus.

“With just a few semesters left at UNL, I spent some time with my brother who is a mechanical engineer,” Elge said. “Seeing what an engineer actually did opened my eyes and made me reconsider completing the degree. The program at SCC allowed me to build on my engineering skills to take the design and move it from an idea to reality.”

He feels he has a unique advantage in the workforce because of his educational experience at UNK, UNL and SCC. The industry has little room for error, and he appreciated his instructors at SCC who had both book knowledge and practical on-the-job experience. Elge will start at Lincoln Tool and Design in January and continue to coach wrestling at Lincoln Southeast High School.

“What I learned at UNL gave me a deeper understanding of the techniques we were taught at SCC,” he explained. “I developed the ability to see the project as a whole rather than just the individual components, which helped me understand how to go about machining them. At SCC, I had instructors who actually dealt with the situations I will encounter, and I appreciate learning from them beyond the syllabus.”

While Elge’s degree path is not for everyone, he would advise others to keep an open mind when considering a college.

“You need to pursue what you are passionate about and shouldn’t be afraid to make the changes to make it happen,” Elge said. “There was a lot of doubt when I questioned leaving UNL and attending SCC, but it’s a decision I’m grateful I made. I have no regrets taking the path I did. I had the opportunity to compete on the UNK wrestling team, where I made memories and learned lessons I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I also had instructors and classmates at SCC who helped me along the way and made this experience enjoyable.”

Jennifer Snyder
Communications Specialist