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SUNY Erie makes it a “fine nine” at Mastercam competition

Article by: Michael Farrell

WILLIAMSVILLE—For the past eight years, students of SUNY Erie Community College’s Industrial Technology Program have become accustomed to finding their way into the nationwide winners’ circle of Mastercam’s Wildest Parts design competition. This year, the College snared another student award in a challenge that’s become an annual showplace for one of its program’s creative excellence.

In a field open to students from nearly 75,000 schools around the country, SUNY Erie’s Stephen VillaReale earned second place overall in the decades-old contest’s Postsecondary Division. This is the ninth consecutive year that a SUNY Erie student has been awarded either first, second or third place in the event, which challenges students enrolled in Mastercam courses to create a unique, original design using Mastercam software. 

VillaReale—a second-semester sophomore and Kenmore native—grabbed his honor with his sleek, silver beer tap (pictured above. According to Mastercam’s awards announcement, “Stephen has always wanted to build a bar in his house—once he owns a house—so this project was perfect for him to start completing that goal.” Challenges with the project included determining the interior dimensions of the design, as well as the lessons learned between the first and last attempt at constructing his final tap product. 

This victory is the latest achievement for a SUNY Industrial Technology Program that continues to lead the way in Western New York advanced manufacturing by providing trained graduates to answer the region’s dire need for skilled laborers, manufacturers and technicians. Its enrollment has surged over the past decade and, thanks in part to the college’s $926,922 received through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program (TAACCCT) in 2012, is now utilizing state-of-the-art training labs and advanced equipment for students eager to enter the area’s expanding industry.

Since 1946, SUNY Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state’s SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, SUNY Erie’s faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership. For more information, visit www.ecc.edu or call (716) 851-1ECC.