Student-athlete fields questions about welding career choice

Published 03.17.2021


by J_Ciaccia

Welding and fabrication engineering technology student


Joe Ciaccia began welding a few years ago. He obviously took to the trade.

Today, Joe is a sophomore welding and fabrication engineering technology student at Penn College where he is establishing the foundation for an outstanding career.

When he’s not playing lacrosse or hanging out with teammates, Joe is in the spacious welding lab, enhancing his skills. He’s happy to share his insights on the major that is preparing him to be a tomorrow maker:

When did you discover your passion for welding and fabrication?

I began studying welding in 2017 at my local community college during my senior year of high school. While taking these classes, I fell in love with the trade and wanted to learn as much as I could about welding and pursue a career in the field. This drive to master the skill eventually led me to Penn College.

What aspect of welding fascinates you most?

Welding robotics is a discipline that has piqued my interest in recent months.

The Penn College welding expansion delivered a variety of new opportunities for welding students. What have you found most valuable thus far?

The most valuable part of the expansion in my experience has been the fabrication area. This adds a very practical aspect to each class and allows the students to – rather than just welding plates all day – build actual objects that have a real-world application.

What has been your favorite project to date? Can you tell us about it?

At the beginning of the 2020 spring semester, I was given the opportunity to help build the frame for the Living Chapel. That was by far the biggest project I’ve had the opportunity to work on.

Tell us about your dream career.

My ideal career would be working in the welding robotics field.

How has individual and industry support enhanced your welding experience?

The individual support in the welding program has been unlike any other institution I have witnessed. Every welding instructor has been very attentive inside and outside of class. The industry support has been great across the board, and I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about the welding industry through meeting various employers who have visited the school.

If someone was interested in welding and fabrication engineering technology, what advice would you offer?

Talk to the Penn College instructors as much as possible because they are some of the best the industry has to offer.

Where can we find you when you are not studying for class or preparing for your next lab?

I am on the lacrosse team here at Penn College, so I usually spend the majority of my time outside of class at the Field House or with my teammates.

What is it like being part of the Men’s Lacrosse team?

Being that this is the inaugural season as a brand-new NCAA Division III Team, it is a very tight knit group of young men that are very hard working and determined to build a strong foundation for this program.

What excites you about competition?

I’ve been playing sports since age 5, so throughout my entire life I have always had the need to compete.  This need for competition has transferred into the classroom and motivated me to succeed. My favorite aspect of the game is the balance of finesse and physicality. 

How is your student-athlete experience complimenting your academic goals?

Lacrosse has added some much needed structure to my academic experience, having a team to hold me accountable on the field and in the classroom has allowed me to be more productive and get better grades.