Dave Thomas thought he wanted to major in music, but now he’s focused on the symphonies found in science. A development engineer at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, classes he took at Stark State College laid the foundation for a career harmonizing polymers and vulcanization and synthesis by organisms.
Discouraged by the salary range for music majors, the 2000 graduate of Barberton High School spent six years working in a factory before he decided Stark State was an ideal entry point for his first foray into higher education.
“I always intended to go on for a four-year degree, so I made sure my credits carried over,” he said, noting those included lots of science and math courses. He went on to The University of Akron for a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering with a biotechnology specialization. At UA, he was named a distinguished student and an honors scholar.
At Goodyear, his research specializes in microbial influence in corrosion.
Stark State, Dave said, was “the perfect place” to enter higher education – the campus is beautiful and the price is right. He even encouraged his stepmother to attend. “I held her hand and said, ‘You should do this; it’s not impossible to go to college.’” Now with the Stark State-Kent State Stark articulation agreement, she’s turned her SSC associate degree into a bachelor’s degree in business.
“I would encourage everyone,” Dave said, “especially if they’re undecided about what they want to do, to get their start at Stark State.”