Michael Philbeck to Receive Gaston College Student Excellence Award
The Dean’s Council of Gaston College has selected Michael Philbeck for the Gaston College Student Excellence Award in recognition of his academic achievements, college and community service, and outstanding accomplishments. Philbeck will be honored at an Awards Ceremony held on the Dallas campus of Gaston College on April 30. The North Carolina Community College System will include Philbeck in its “The Great Within the 58” publication which recognizes the Academic Excellence Award winner from each of the 58 schools in the system.
Philbeck will graduate from Gaston College in May 2019 with Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees in Mechatronics Engineering Technology, Manufacturing Technology, and General Occupational Technology. He graduates with a 4.0 GPA and high honors. At the graduation ceremony, he will receive a “Learn for Life” award and an award for being on the “President’s List” throughout his time at Gaston College. Previously, Philbeck earned certificates in Electronics Engineering Technology and Manufacturing Technology, and through his participation in the Gaston College Apprenticeship 321 program, he was awarded a Journey worker Certificate and Card.
Dr. George Hendricks, Interim Dean of Engineering Technologies, nominated Philbeck for the Student Excellence Award. “Michael first came to Gaston College through the Apprenticeship 321 program,” he said. “He is capitalizing on the credits he earned as an apprentice and will earn three associate degrees in May. His academic achievements and his college and community service make him highly deserving of the Gaston College Student Excellence Award.”
In 2017, Philbeck was named the Gaston College Apprentice of the Year. He enrolled in Gaston College in 2015 to join the Apprenticeship 321 program, which provides participants with job-specific training and a cost-free education at Gaston College while they are earning a salary from local employers. Philbeck has been employed by Firestone Fibers and Textiles in Kings Mountain, N.C., for over 20 years and has worked in a variety of positions. Mid-way through his apprenticeship, he was promoted from a Mechanic B position to Mechanic A. After completing the apprenticeship program in 2017; he was promoted to Electro-Mechanical Technician.
Philbeck, who is married and has five children, has been deeply involved with many activities at Gaston College and in the community. He has been a member of Phi Beta Lambda, President of the Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society, President of the Engineering Technology Honor Society, and Treasurer of the Student Government Association (SGA). Philbeck participates in community organizations such as Relay for Life, Upwards, and is an Elder of First Presbyterian Church of Cherryville. Along with working full-time, attending school, caring for his family, and his many activities, Philbeck works full-time as the President of USW Local 1133L, where he represents workers at Firestone’s Kings Mountain and Gastonia plants.
“Many people think that they need to go to a university to get a quality education,” said Philbeck. “I can personally tell you that is not the case. Since I work full-time and provide for a family of seven, Community College was my only choice. Through the Apprenticeship 321 program, I learned so much about my job-specific field. The program gave me the confidence and the newfound love for electronics and automation to go along with my mechanical background.”
Philbeck is appreciative of the support he got at Firestone and Gaston College. “I am truly grateful to Firestone for funding and supporting my education. At Gaston College, the instructors, advisors, success coach, and the rest of the faculty are second to none. They care about your success and not only provide you with the tools, but they also share in your accomplishments. I would not have been as successful had it not been for all of them. I am forever thankful for all Firestone and Gaston College have done for me.”
Philbeck has been accepted to Western Carolina University and will begin pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology this summer.
For more information about the Apprenticeship 321 program, visit http://www.gaston.edu/apprenticeship-321/ or contact Jill Hendrix, Coordinator of Apprenticeship 321 and Continuing Education Programs, at 704-922-6521 or email@example.com.
About Gaston College
Gaston College is one of 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System. Serving both Gaston and Lincoln counties, Gaston College enrolls approximately 8,000 students each term in curriculum programs and averages over 17,000 annually in its Economic and Workforce Development and Continuing Education programs. Gaston College offers over 100 fields of study to obtain a degree, diploma or certificate. To learn more about the College’s services and programs, visit the Gaston College website at www.gaston.edu.
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