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mrW/MTI Scholarship Recipient Spotlight: Devin Stoops

As submissions continue to roll in for the 2014-2015 mrWF/MTI Scholarship Program, we wanted to reach out to last year’s program winners and touch base with them as they begin their workforce training. During the next few months, we’ll publish a series of Q&A’s with previous winners as they update us on their coursework and the overall experience of being a student at MTI.

Our initial interview features Devin Stoops, a Carlinville High School graduate and student in the Journeyman Welder Program at MTI’s Springfield, Ill. campus.

Devin took a few moments during a break from one of his classes to speak about his passion for welding and his current plans following graduation in the spring of 2015.

Midwest Technical Institute: How did you discover MTI and what made you decide to attend?

Devin Stroops: I discovered MTI through their welding competition. It was my junior year in high school and my friend, who was a senior at the time, found out about the competition from our high school guidance counselor and asked me to tag along. I did fairly decent in high school welding classes and thought, “Sure, why not?”

I did pretty decent in the competition and decided to come back as a senior and that’s when I found out about the Mike Rowe competition, which is one of the reasons I came here. Plus, the school is close to home and I like to be around family.

Devin-weldingWhy welding?

Well, I come from a farm community and there’s always a need for welders there. During my freshman year in high school, I just fell in love with it. It’s relaxing to me, I guess. And you can really make anything. I’ve made everything from statues to machinery. It’s very cool to know I can make something.

You’re about 12 weeks into the Journeyman Welder Program. What’s been your greatest achievement so far?

Since I started, I’m most proud of how much my performance-level has increased. I have four of my eight certifications already. When I first started, I was alright, but my mechanics and skill-level has greatly increased. The instructors here make it easy to learn and they try to find the best way to teach you on a personal level because not everyone learns the same way, you know?

Sounds like that old saying, “Practice makes perfect, huh?”

Kind of. In all the trades, you get better with repetition. But it’s not just practice makes perfect, it’s perfect practice makes you perfect. If you do something wrong over and over again, you’re going to develop bad habits.

While graduation might seem pretty far away at this point, have you thought about what you’d like to do career-wise after you finish the welding program?

Definitely. I think I want to pursue stainless pipe welding. I haven’t been on stainless yet, but I’ve watched it and it looks really fun and interesting to me. I want to be the guy who actually welds the pipe, not the guy who fits it and then just watches. I want to weld.

 Click here for more information regarding this year’s scholarship.
Devin’s scholarship-winning video