While growing up in North Carolina, Bruce Perry spent hours hanging out with his Uncle Willie Parker Jr., repairing tractors, lawn mowers, and various other vehicles. It might have seemed like normal boyhood fun to Bruce, but as the Ball State graduate student now understands, he was doing some serious job shadowing with his late uncle.
“His mentorship, abilities, education, skill, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding influenced me greatly,” recalls Bruce, of Uncle Willie’s career influence.
Bruce had the opportunity to perform multiple building trades and construction under the watchful eyes of this family mentor.
Today Bruce is an HVAC-R Service Technician with more than 20 years’ experience in maintenance and operations for school districts and casinos. He lives in southern California and is pursuing Ball State’s online master’s degree in career and technical education.
Needed Challenge After Earning Bachelor’s
Bruce was finishing his bachelor’s in career and technical studies at California State University-San Bernardino (CSUSB) in 2019, when he decided to enhance his personal development, complement his skills and experience—and give himself a challenge.
He began by comparing other graduate programs to CSUSB.
“When I saw Ball State’s CTE graduate programs, I saw many technical and practical programs that would complement my skillset and work experience,” says Bruce.
“I chose the community college and industrial trainer’s track because I like teaching, learning, helping students, and encouraging them to constantly learn in practical ways that will help them succeed in life and the workplace.”
Outstanding Instructors Inspired Him to Teach
While working as a senior heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic for Desert Community College in Palm Desert, California, Bruce earned associate of arts and associate of science degrees.
“I was inspired by good instructors to teach,” he says. Bruce has also been inspired by Ball State professors Edward Lazaros, Dr. Allen Truell, and Richard Seymour. “I’ve had excellent Q&A sessions with my professors.”
Technology Discoveries Have Been Highlight
Other highlights of the CTE program for Bruce have included learning the history of career and technical education, discovering how technology can improve teaching and workplace productivity, and using interactive space to interact academically and socially with classmates in a collaborating environment.
Bruce plans to finish classes by summer of 2021 and then make the cross country journey to campus to receive his degree.
After graduating from Ball State’s CTE program, Bruce hopes to once again be on the job and in the classroom: “My motivation is to be an engineering director of a facility and teach at a community college as a HVAC-R instructor.”