Jay Patel

  • Automated Manufacturing & Machining

Growing up in India, Jay cultivated a love of hands-on learning. Repairing his childhood bike and helping his father fix mopeds were a part of everyday life. This analytical mindset led him to pursue a career in manufacturing engineering and landed him at Penn College. The immersive labs, the hearing support services he receives, and the scholarship dollars that fund his passion are just a few of the many reasons Jay's loving life at Penn College.


Jay Patel

Q&A with Jay


My story began in Vadodara, India in 1996. As a little boy, some of my earliest childhood memories are tinkering with my bike and watching my father and local neighbors’ maintaining their mopeds—a popular source of transportation in our culture, especially with our dry warm weather year-round. I loved stepping in and helping, handing them tools, and performing small tasks. Born Deaf, my sense of visual learning is intensified, compensating for my inability to hear. I could spend hours removing my bike pedals, fixing a popped chain, and replacing a bike tire after I ran over a nail in the roadway. I attribute a lot of those experiences to my love for machining and manufacturing. I knew I would someday pursue a career that allowed me to use my hands and foster my passion for innovation.


While life in India was great, the educational opportunities and exposure to sign language for a Deaf child were limited. So, my mother and father decided to move to the United States of America when I was ten years old. I had very little knowledge of English or American Sign Language (ASL). My parents enrolled me in our local public school where I was placed into fifth grade. I had more access and opportunity to learn English, especially ASL. I am forever grateful for my ASL instructor, as I credit my strong signing skills to her. She also provided me the opportunities to meet other Deaf students and learn how to effectively communicate.


A few months after the completion of my associate's degree from another higher education facility, I just felt something was missing. I took some time to do some soul-searching and decided I wanted to further my education and obtain a bachelor's degree in manufacturing engineering technology. I spent countless hours scouring the internet for reputable post-secondary colleges and universities that may be a good match to fulfil my desire of a strong, hands-on educational experience. While searching I repeatedly came across Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA. Hailing from Detroit, my mind kept wondering, "Where is Williamsport and why would I want to go to Penn College?” My gut led me to schedule a tour in April of 2021 and well, the rest is history. The machining labs and automated manufacturing labs spoke for themselves. I needed very little convincing to know THIS was the right place for me.


My fears quickly subsided when I met the incredible staff who have effectively and efficiently met all my needs so I could be successful during my time here. Not to mention the many instructors who have so willingly modified their teaching styles and curriculum to be sure everything is accessible to me. Let’s be honest. The odds aren’t always in the favor of students with disabilities. According to a study in 2019 from the National Deaf Center on Post-Secondary outcomes, only 19% of Deaf students earn a bachelor's degree compared to 34% of hearing students. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve come a long way as a society, but minority groups (in my case, people with disabilities) are faced with multiple obstacles-daily, weekly, and for a lifetime. However, I choose to use my Deafness to support those who desire an education and use it as a tool to shine light on hands-on educational experiences that most accommodate someone with a hearing loss.


My parents were motivated for me to be able to live a more social life and to be a functioning adult with a good job. A career in manufacturing offers a great range of possibilities. I completed an R.I.T. summer internship at Solar Turbines Inc., a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., located in San Diego. I was also given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Germany this past summer with a few of my fellow peers and instructors to study foreign precision machining. In addition to training and lectures, we were also given the chance to tour Kuka Robotics, the Porsche manufacturing plant, and the Haimer Company. It was fascinating to compare manufacturing processes in both Germany and the United States. The National Science Foundation made this experience possible and I will treasure the knowledge and skills I learned during that time and apply them to the skills I have learned during my time at Penn College.


I am forever thankful for the generous scholarships and grants we can apply for and receive as students. Personally, I have received scholarships from The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation, the Gene Haas Foundation, and M&T Bank, just to name a few. Due to their contributions, I was able to minimize my financial responsibilities and acquire additional tooling to carry with me as I soon prepare to enter the field of manufacturing.

Student Experience

"There’s so many opportunities. Don’t be afraid. Go to school. If you’re serious and you have a goal or a dream in mind, find the major that works best for you."

Jay Patel

Manufacturing Engineering Technology

A Hands-on Education: The Support to Thrive

See how Jay thrives on campus and the support that helps him do so.

Scholarship symbiosis celebrated at luncheon

Scholarship symbiosis celebrated at luncheon

Jay, with assistance from Heidi Roupp, disability and access resources specialist/staff interpreter, had the pleasure of introducing the College president Dr. Mike Reed at the annual Scholarship Luncheon. And, while he agrees that college is expensive, he is thankful to the generous donations that helped him and other students subsidize the cost.

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Students experience German manufacturing

Students experience German manufacturing

Jay was among a group of students who experienced a mix of classroom, lab, and hands-on work with German machining methods during a 16-day excursion to Germany.

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Automated Manufacturing & Machining

Hone the technical skills you need to be a part of a rapidly growing career field.Take the lead in this technology-driven field.

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