Schaefer finds success in drafting and designPublished 12:19am Sunday, March 31, 2013
When Jeremiah Schaefer was growing up in Beaufort County and eastern Tennessee, he planned on a career in construction.
“All I ever wanted to be was a carpenter,” he said in a recent interview.
But an injury to his back – brought on during a weight-lifting session while he was in high school – changed his plans.
In May, Schaefer, 31, is scheduled to graduate from Beaufort County Community College with a degree in mechanical engineering/drafting and design.
He says that, thanks to his injury and good career advice from his mother, he has found his true calling.
A native of Beaufort County, Schaefer attended Northside High School and graduated from Tennessee High School in Bristol, Tenn., after moving west to live with his father.
After high school, he worked for a time as a mechanic at a Hyundai dealership in Johnson City, Tenn. But the work was hard on his back, so he left in 2007.
He returned to North Carolina and applied to and was accepted by, East Carolina University, planning to be a construction manager.
“But I didn’t want to sit in an office all day,” he said.
After having surgery in 2009, Schaefer was looking for something to do while he recovered. He enrolled at BCCC with the intent of taking a few courses as he recovered his strength.
“It was something to do,” he said.
Schaefer credits his mother, Sherrie Credle Schaefer, who graduated from BCCC, with recommending his current course of study.
Instead of learning construction management, Schaefer has learned to design prototypes for machine parts that can be produced on computer-controlled machines in area industries.
“I never thought of this as being interesting and fun,” he said. “But I enjoy it.”
Schaefer is undecided about his future.
He may pursue bachelor’s degree work in engineering at ECU or he may return to BCCC for a degree in machining to learn how to create the parts he now knows how to design.
Either way, he looks forward to a career as a designer of machine parts or as a machinist.
“I feel like I’m on my way,” he said.
The Mechanical Engineering/Drafting and Design Program at Beaufort County Community College is one of the programs that will be on display Tuesday, April 9, during an Open House to celebrate Advanced Manufacturing Week.