Students Get Hands-On Experience in EKU’s Manufacturing Engineering Program

Published on May 01, 2024

By Ethan Sirles

Just over a year ago, Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) announced a manufacturing engineering degree program, making it the only program of its kind in the state. The program, which was offered for the first time in the fall semester, has quickly made the school a destination for students interested in engineering across the Commonwealth.

“Because of the manufacturing engineering program, EKU is becoming a top destination for students in the Commonwealth and beyond,” said EKU President David McFaddin. “Being the first school to offer this program in Kentucky and the region further exemplifies Eastern’s dedication to fueling the workforce with qualified graduates.”

Davis Huntley, a first-year student from Winchester, Kentucky, chose to come to EKU for the manufacturing engineering program. 

“All my life, growing up, I knew I wanted to be an engineer,” he said. “My grandfather was an engineer, my dad was an engineer, and when I was a little kid I wanted to be an engineer, too.” 

When it came to choosing where he wanted to attend college, Huntley said EKU was the best option for scholarships, but did not yet have the engineering program he was seeking when he first started his school search. 

“[It was] the biggest bang-for-your-buck in the area,” he said. “I wanted to stay in the area, and this was certainly the closest option but also the most financially feasible.” 

By the time Huntley was getting ready to graduate high school, though, the manufacturing program at EKU was officially announced. 

“I was really excited,” he said. “That was the deciding factor. I absolutely wanted to be an engineer, and when EKU got the program, that was just a no-brainer.” 

According to Huntley, the opportunities the program has given him have far exceeded what he had hoped for. 

“I didn’t expect it to be as hands-on as it is,” said Huntley. “My dad went through engineering school, and he said he never got to operate any machinery or any equipment. That’s what I was expecting, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that we were very involved in operating the machinery and learning how to do things hands-on.” 

Huntley said he has enjoyed getting to be part of the new program, and looks forward to seeing the program grow. 

“It’s very exciting to be the first—the inaugural class” he said. “That’s something I pride myself on being part of, and I think the other students in the program would say the same thing.”

Once Huntley finishes his degree, he wants to go into automotive engineering, adding that he is already noticing how some of his assignments are going to be applicable to his future career. 

EKU’s bachelor of science degree in manufacturing engineering prepares students to become practicing manufacturing engineers. Students in the program gain expertise and practical knowledge in the major areas of manufacturing materials and processes, design for manufacturability, lean manufacturing, quality and process control, automation and robotics.