UNC Asheville will expand its Mechatronics Program this year, thanks in part to a $400,000 grant from Duke Energy, which will fund new equipment for a design and development studio that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. The mechatronics program, offered jointly with NC State University, teaches precision computer control over mechanical and electrical systems.
“Our mechatronics engineering students have adaptability, communication skills and a strong sense of the big picture because, here at UNC Asheville, they learn cutting-edge high-tech skills in the context of a liberal arts curriculum,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Mary K. Grant. “Thank you to Duke Energy for supporting our mechatronics engineering students by helping provide the tools they need to lead the next generation of high-tech innovators serving our community and state.”
The joint UNC Asheville and NC State Mechatronics Program has more than doubled its enrollment in the past two years. With this grant and other additional support, it is expected that the program will grow to graduate more than 50 students each year in the coming decade. Mechatronics graduates are well-qualified and in high demand by employers. In 2014, seven mechatronics graduates took jobs at TMEIC of Roanoke, Virginia; many other recent graduates are employed at Eaton Corp., AvL Technologies and other firms in the region.