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Noteworthy

JTCC Engineering Grad Earns Top Spot at U.Va.

Posted on June 20, 2013

Steven Easter and Jonathan Turman

 

By Holly Walker

The road to becoming an engineer is challenging. You have to be determined. You have to be focused. You have to build a strong educational foundation. And, as technology advances, you have to be ready to learn new things. Two brothers, Steven Easter and Jonathan Turman, decided to embrace those challenges together. They enrolled in John Tyler Community College’s Engineering program when it was brand new and became members of the program’s first graduating class. After completing their associate degrees in 2011, Easter and Turman used guaranteed admissions agreements to transfer to the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Both brothers excelled, and this spring, they completed their bachelor’s degrees. In addition, Easter received a very big honor; he was named the top academic graduate of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

During their time at U.Va., the brothers garnered lots of attention for building a fully functional plane using cutting-edge 3D printing technology. The two spent countless hours working on their unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, as part of an internship with MITRE Corporation – an organization that manages federally funded research. There were twists, turns and failures along the way, but when the time came to fly their creation in front of representatives from MITRE Corporation, Easter and Turman enjoyed success and praise. That success led to media attention, an extension of their internships, and a new project – a second UAV.

In between classes, the two got back to work, refining their design. They also began writing a paper about their work, which they hope will be published. Their second UAV was completed just days ago and will now undergo testing with MITRE. The brothers say the workload has been intense but rewarding, and it has given them a real-world engineering experience that goes beyond textbooks. Both will now enjoy a little bit of rest, but it won’t last for long. Turman is currently interviewing for jobs, and Easter is preparing to start grad school at U.Va. in the fall.

Congratulations to these amazing JTCC Engineering alum!

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