Macon County and South Georgia Tech educators team up to help students

Published 12:01 am Friday, August 14, 2020

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By Su Ann Bird


AMERICUS – South Georgia Technical College Industrial Systems Technology Instructor Patrick Owen agreed to serve as a mentor for Macon County High School Instructor Twinkle Mark as part of a summer internship program with the Georgia Institute of Technology through the Georgia Intern Fellowships for Teachers (GIFT) program.

Mark was awarded third place in Georgia in the GIFT summer intern program and expressed her appreciation to South Georgia Technical College and Patrick Owen for mentoring her. The GIFT program allowed Mark to learn how to analyze and troubleshoot hydraulic pumps, actuators, flow control and check valves, and pressure control valves.

She will now take the knowledge and experience that she learned and share it with her Macon County High School physics, chemistry, and physical science classes and incorporate hands-on activities utilizing Hydraulics, Hydraulics in Circuits and the Effect of Pressure on Hydraulics.  “The students will be able to see these types of educational concepts in practice,” said Mark.  “By sharing with students how and why this information is important and how theory works in the real world, I believe it will help them learn and retain knowledge.”

During the four-week program, Mark was able to complete her virtual remote learning experience in technical and education opportunity using fluid power mechanics and their functions in industrial settings.  She learned how to analyze and troubleshoot hydraulic pumps, actuators, flow control and check valves, and pressure control valves.

Mark completed an online course embedded with virtual instructions by working for at least eight hours a day including the time to develop a lesson plan utilizing her newly acquired knowledge.  She also had to complete an GIFT Action Plan and met with Patrick Owen at South Georgia Technical College in his Industrial Systems classroom and lab area.

Mark has utilized South Georgia Technical College for summer internships twice before.  She worked with retired Industrial Systems Technology instructor Phil Deese to learn about robots.  She learned about its parts and functions as well as learned how to work with the robot.  She also helped implement STEM programs with middle school kids.

During her second summer internship, she participated in virtual labs where she worked with safety protocols, AC/DC Electrical Systems, Electrical measurements in AC and DC using galvanometers, Ohm’s Law, measuring voltage, current and resistance in series and parallel circuits, circuit analysis, inductance, and capacitance.  She also worked and developed programs for robots.

The purpose of the GIFT program is to help high school instructors gain skills to expand the minds of high school students and encourage them to pursue college careers in the STEM fields.  Mark believes that her participation in the GIFT program has helped increase the number of Macon County students enrolling at South Georgia Technical College and other colleges and universities. It also has helped improve critical thinking and problem solving skills in the learners to improve SAT and ACT scores, science scores on end of course milestones and increased the schools’ college and career ready performance index.

“The fields of science and engineering are mutually supportive, and scientists and engineers often work together in teams, especially in fields at the borders of science and engineering.  Together, advances in science, engineering and technology can have – and indeed have had – profound effects on human society in such areas as agriculture, transportation, health care, and communication and on the natural environment,” said Mark.

GIFT is coordinated by the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

South Georgia Technical College’s Industrial Systems Technology program covers all areas of industrial maintenance including the technical skills needed in electronics, industrial wiring, motors, controls, PLCs, instrumentation, fluid power, mechanical, pumps and piping and computers.  The  salary range for most skills technicians in the area are between $12 and $30 per hour based on skills level, experience, and location.

The Industrial Systems Technology program is a high demand career and students earn an extra $500 from the HOPE Career Grant in addition to other financial aid opportunities.  South Georgia Technical College is currently registering students for Fall Semester.  Students can apply and complete orientation online and then sign up for classes with their instructor.

To learn more about SGTC’s Industrial Systems Technology program, contact instructor Patrick Owen at or call him at 229-931-2574.