• ElaineVavraSpot

Elaine Vavra

  • Program: Manufacturing Engineering Technology

    Education/Industry Certifications: Bachelor of Arts, Concordia College, 1997; Associate of Applied Science, Southeast Community College, 1993; Certified Manufacturing Technologist, SME

    Has taught at SCC since: September 1997

    Years of work experience outside SCC: Four

    Describe your teaching philosophy.
    I try to make students aware of why we cover the topics we do and how they apply to them when working in industry. I try to instill in them the ability to integrate theory with practical applications by using real-world examples. I encourage students to develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. I try to bring an open mind and high expectations to the classroom. If my students leave my classroom with one skill, I hope it's that they have the groundwork and confidence to continue to learn and to be successful in whatever they do.

    Why did you decide to teach at a community college?
    When an opening in the program became available, three instructors from the Milford Campus called me and encouraged me to apply because they thought I would be a good teacher. I applied and have been here for 20 years. It was not in my original plan to teach when I came through SCC as a student.

    What can prospective students expect when they enroll in your program?
    They can expect a fast-paced education covering every aspect of the manufacturing cycle, from a concept idea to a finished product.

    What experiences outside of SCC do you bring to the classroom/laboratory that enhance student learning?
    I have been a professional member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for 25 years and maintain a lifetime certification as a manufacturing technologist. We have a student chapter that participates in manufacturing activities outside of school hours. I am active in SkillsUSA and serve as a state contest coordinator and also advisor to students in the program.

    What advice do you have for students pursuing a degree in your program?
    Your education here is only the beginning of your career. Look for opportunities to expand your horizons. Set your goals high, and work hard to be successful in everything you do.

    What do you enjoy most about working with students?
    Learning from them. Everyone has unique experiences in their lives that you can learn from. "Every person you meet knows something that you don't." Bill Nye.

    What is the best part about being an SCC faculty member?
    The close bond we have with each other.

    What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?
    When parents come up to me at graduation and tell me how much I've made an impression on their son or daughter.

    What do you like to do when you're not teaching?
    Reading, outdoor activities, walking, biking, and spending time with family.

    What would students be surprised to know about you?
    That I have lived in Alaska and Hawaii.