Sam Pfleger’s curiosity led her to
Southeast Community College, its Nondestructive Testing Technology program, and
a good job at age 20.
“My older brother received a scholarship
to attend the NDT program at SCC,” the Kenosha, Wisconsin, native said. “Visiting
with him, I became interested in the field as well. It really interested me
because it was something I had never heard of before. Even working in the
field, I still come across people who have never heard of it.”
Sam graduated in December 2018 with a
degree in NDT and a certificate in business. Her brother Joshua is a June 2016 NDT
Sam is an NDT technician at Lockheed
Martin in Littleton, Colorado. She started with the company in mid-January
2019. Her day-to-day tasks change depending on the type of work, but she uses
ultrasonic and thermography testing on different panels (flight hardware).
is Manufacturing Month, and Sam said designating the time to bring awareness is
a step toward changing the stigma that surrounds trade schools and community
“Trade schools and community colleges
oftentimes are looked down upon,” she said. “When I was preparing to
graduate from (Bradford) high school, there was a big hype about going to a
four-year college, and if you weren’t, it was perceived as you not being ‘smart
enough’. I personally think it’s the opposite. Trade-style jobs are what keep
this country going.”
was among 15 SCC students who graduated from the NDT program in 2018. The
average starting salary for the group was $43,264.
education at SCC is what set me apart from other applicants when applying for
the job here at Lockheed Martin,” Sam said. “I came in with a confidence that I
can do this job because I was taught well, and that was very quickly realized
to be true once I started working.”
rates the instruction she received at SCC as very high.
will never forget, nor stop thanking, (NDT instructors) Bill (Wiley) and Randy (Walbridge)
for pushing me to be the best student I could be, or cracking the whip when I
was slacking and they knew I could do better,” she said. “I will also forever
be thankful for Sheri Christensen, who taught the physics class I needed. She
was always willing to help through any and all struggles.”
loves what she does and has some advice for people who enjoy hands-on
you like to work with your hands and don’t love school, go into a trade,” she
said. “The majority of class time is really lab time, and having a degree in
half the time means you get to be out in the workforce that much sooner. Since
I went in right after high school, I was able to graduate college at 20.
Twenty! To be out of school with a degree at such a young age has provided many