Sarah Barron

Madison Area Technical College

Electrical Engineering

Pursuing B.S. in Electrical Engineering, UW-Platteville

 

After earning her degree in Asian Studies from UC-Santa Barbara in 2008, Sarah Barron moved to Japan to teach English. But when she relocated back to the Madison area with her partner who wanted to pursue a PhD at UW-Madison, she was unable to find long-term work.

It was while talking to some advisors at different schools when she decided to pursue a career in engineering, which meant going back to school in her late 20s. “It was a difficult decision,” says Barron. “I was concerned about investing a lot of time and money in the endeavor.”

She was about to embark upon on a major life change, so she tested the waters before jumping right in. “I started out at Madison College as a way for me to see if I truly wanted to study engineering without committing to a four-year program or accruing too much student debt,” she says.

She immediately felt right at home. “Madison College always offers an incredible amount of support to its students, and that positivity was very encouraging,” she says. “Between the Student Achievement Center, the Supplementary Instruction sessions and the Honors Program, I felt fully capable of succeeding there.”

In order to obtain a bachelor’s degree, Barron knew she needed to transfer to a four-year university. After meeting with a transfer advisor at Madison College, she decided to transfer her credits to UW-Platteville where she is currently taking classes in pursuit of a degree in Electrical Engineering. She is scheduled to graduate in December 2019.

“(The transfer) went very smoothly, as I received help from both Madison College and UW-Platteville advisors during the process,” says Barron. “(The transfer program) also has the added benefit of forcing me to be proactive and learn how to coordinate with instructors and peers from a distance, which are valuable skills for an engineer.”

Barron offers some helpful advice to students interested in transferring to a four-year university. “If I were to do it again, I would have transferred earlier and taken courses at both schools concurrently,” she advises. “This would have allowed me to have a mix of online and on-campus courses for a longer period of time, which I prefer.”

Since some of the courses required for her degree are not offered online by UW-Platteville, she has had to take courses elsewhere. “I have supplemented many semesters with courses at Madison College and UW-Colleges Online,” says Barron. “The two things to be careful about when taking classes at different places are financial aid credit hour requirements and whether your courses are transferable.”

Barron is currently working full-time in the Manufacturing Engineering Department at Electronic Theatre Controls in Middleton. After graduation, she hopes to continue gaining experience as a full-fledged engineer there. “I see myself working with many different departments and types of engineers,” she says. “As my industry continues to grow and evolve, I look forward to doing so with it.”

Thus far, her pursuit of an Engineering degree has been worth the effort. “Even though I am changing careers, I do not regret the long winding path I have taken to get where I am,” she concludes. “I have been faced with some amazing opportunities and adventures over the years, and I would not be who I am without those experiences.”