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Co-Lin’s Case nominated for national Instructor of the Year

One local educator may be on the way to receiving national recognition.

Copiah-Lincoln Community College Automation and Control Technology instructor Mandy Hart Case has been chosen as a finalist to receive the 2020 American Technical Education Association Instructor of the Year Award.

In March, Case will travel to the 2020 ATEA National Conference in Camden, New Jersey, where the teacher of the year will be announced. Camden is directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, and Case said she is excited to see the city.

“I was very humbled and very honored, that they would do this,” she said. “I just found out Tuesday.”

Automation and control technology is an engineering program with a broad range of applications, and students of that class are in high demand. According to Case, applicants have had 100 percent hire rates in the past several years.

“I think that speaks well for the need for automation control technicians,” she said. “It’s also a great career opportunity as far as it’s very competitive salaries. It’s gotten to the point where (employers) contact us. So its a good relationship.”

Case said automation and control technician students find jobs in the medical field and manufacturing, and as many as 15 percent of students even to go work for the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station.

“That’s the great thing about our program,” she said. “It’s a really broad field.”

Case said she was first introduced to engineering in high school, and it turned out to be a great fit.

“I loved crafts, I loved science and I loved to solve problems,” she said.

From there — and with a little guidance from her high school counselor — engineering was the obvious choice.

With an associate’s degree from Co-Lin and a bachelor’s degree in industrial and manufacturing engineering from Louisiana State University, Case spent years working as an engineer for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and for the United Parcel Service.

Case said both of her parents were educated, and she was well aware of the ups and downs of working in education. But when she started giving on-the-job training as part of her job, she got first-hand experience in what it was like to teach others. Case made the move to teaching at Co-Lin in 2015, and she said it has been a rewarding experience for her.

“We have a group of students that get great job opportunities, so we get to see all of them succeed,” Case said.