Commencement Stories: Kevin Fealey, Inspired to Pursue a Career in Engineering

On July 11, Excelsior College will host its annual Commencement ceremony at the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany, New YorkWith ‘Commencement Stories’, Excelsior Life explores the personal and educational journeys of a few of this year’s outstanding graduates. Follow #ExcelsiorGrad2014 for all Commencement-related updates and activities.

Kevin Fealey photoOver the past decade, the infusion of public and private investment and the arrival of semiconductor manufacturing giant GlobalFoundries has transformed the New York State Capital Region into a burgeoning technology hotbed. Growing up in Albany, New York, Kevin Fealey observed this booming growth first hand and felt inspired from a young age to pursue a career in engineering.

“I’ve grown up here…I’ve seen all the development , so I knew right way that’s what I wanted to do,” said Fealey.

Unlike many teens, Fealey also understood the hardwork it would take to get there. After graduating high school in 2008, he enrolled in the semiconductor manufacturing program at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC). He soon landed an internship with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and after graduating from HVCC, transitioned to a full-time entry-level position as a process operator.

With an understanding that his career prospects would be limited without a four-year degree, Fealey enrolled in Excelsior College’s Electrical Engineering Technology program (minor, nanotechnology). He was able to pursue his degree at a reduced tuition and fee rate through a partnership Excelsior has with HVCC.

“I had looked into other schools, but Excelsior’s flexibility is what sold it,” said Fealey.

Eight months later, CNSE promoted him to engineering technician, which came with more responsibility, including upper-level maintenance, vendor support and customer engagement.

“Part of the reason (CNSE) hired me was they saw I was continuing my education – they saw that as dedication…” said Fealey.

Balancing home, work and school would prove difficult at times, but Fealey had a support system. His supervisor at work understood his multiple responsibilities and offered flexibility. In addition, his family and a co-worker (who is also enrolled in Excelsior), were there to offer support when he needed it. They’ll join him at Commencement on July 11.

In the meantime, Fealey looks ahead.

“With a bachelor’s degree I can get an official engineering job,” said Fealey, excitedly.