He's among the first graduates of Engineers PRODUCED in Virginia, an innovative workforce development program that brings engineering education out to students in Virginia communities needing greater access to technical talent.
|Greg at work|
After he completes his degree, Troyer will work full-time for Areva, a global energy company in Lynchburg, where he will evaluate and analyze the materials used in nuclear power plants. A Lynchburg native, he has spent summers interning at Areva and worked part-time there while finishing his degree.
Graduating from U.Va. with a 4.0 grade-point average, he has received the Materials Science and Engineering Distinguished Undergraduate Award. Troyer, 24, said he was working in construction, but knew that wasn't a long-term proposition. "I've always been interested in math and science, which fall together into engineering as a practical application," he said.
While a student at Central Virginia Community College, he became acquainted with the PRODUCED program and, after earning his associate's degree with a 4.0 GPA, enrolled at U.Va.
"All of my classes have been taken electronically," he said. "Online learning sounds terrible to some people, but when we're taking classes at U.Va., we're sitting in on real, live classes. There's a professor lecturing to 30 or 100 students and we have video feed into the classroom, desktop sharing so I can see the PowerPoint the class sees, and two-way audio so I can ask a question in real time.
"All I need is a reliable Internet connection. I take classes from my desk at work, or from my desk at home. I prefer this type of setting and the flexibility it gives me."
Working part-time while attending U.Va. was a good combination for him, he said. "From a professional development standpoint, I learn just as much or more from being at work as I do at school," he said. "This benefits me because I can ask informed questions in the classroom to help cement something I see at work. It is also beneficial to U.Va. because I'm in the classroom making the professor think about how what they are teaching is being applied in real life."