Dual-Enrollment Led COTC Engineering Technology Student Sydney Palur to Early Start in Dream Career


From being a dual-enrollment student at C-TEC and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) to being an employee at Salas O’Brien in Granville, Ohio, an Army reservist and COTC engineering technology student, Sydney Palur is doing what she loves thanks to COTC.

After being a dual-enrollment student, earning her Architecture and Engineering Design Certificate from C-TEC and 16 credits from COTC toward a college degree, Palur thought going to a four-year university known for engineering would be the right path. While she was in high school, her mother was diagnosed with a rare tumor that made it impossible for her parents to be a source of help for her education. Palur joined the U.S. Army Reserves to pay for her attendance at the University of Louisville, but quickly realized after one semester that it was not monetarily feasible to continue her education there. 

young Caucasian woman with blonde hair and blue eyes in red shirt, black pants, and black sandals poses for a picture

“So, after going through all my military training, and finally, getting into the reserves, I decided to go back to school. But this time, I was going to start at a technical school, thinking that it’d be affordable, and I would get a better education with smaller classes,” said Palur. “I went back to COTC because I already had credits and I already knew the college and some of the engineering professors. I fell in love with the program, the professors, the people and how students are just so involved.”

Palur has found that the campus atmosphere is exactly what she needs. Her professors have taken a keen interest in her career goals and ways to help her reach them. She has also found out how COTC professors are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that students receive the support they need to succeed in and out of the classroom. 

Palur was chosen for the second team of the 2021 All-Ohio Community College Academic Team, recognizing her excellence in academics, leadership and community service. She also received a $500 scholarship. Palur was also inducted into COTC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), Alpha Theta Zeta, the most prestigious international honor society for two-year college students. PTK serves to recognize the academic achievement of two-year college students and provide opportunities for individual growth and development through honors, leadership and service programming. To become a member, a two-year college student must have completed 12 credit hours of associate degree coursework and have a grade point average of at least 3.5.

While attending school full-time, her previous education as a dual-enrollment student has helped her work part-time as a CAD drafter at several companies including Corning Incorporated, Burgess Corporation and Varo Engineers. 

“I do a lot of 3D modeling and 2D blueprints. My specialty is focused on the mechanical side of engineering. So, I mainly do machinery that is involved in manufacturing processes,” said Palur. “I’ve done railroads and electrical plans for government facilities. I’ve done architecture and structural buildings. I truly have been able to tap into all branches of engineering including mechanical, structural, electrical and even architectural plans, but I really enjoy working on machinery in the manufacturing environments.”

An internship completed while a dual-enrollment student and connections through her COTC professors led Palur to her current role as a CAD drafter at Salas O’Brien in Granville, Ohio. She feels right at home at Salas O’Brien because the company frequently hires COTC graduates, and she is working with several of them.

Palur has less than a year on her contract with the Army Reserves. If she reenlists, she will be promoted to a non-commissioned officer role that is more of a leadership position than what she now fulfills. Palur plans to graduate from COTC in 2022 with her Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Technology.

Her long-term plans include pursuing her bachelor’s degree in engineering and becoming a commissioned officer in the Army.

“Without my military experiences, education as a dual-enrollment at C-TEC and COTC and on-the-job opportunities, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Learn more about COTC’s degrees in engineering technology and electrical engineering technology at cotc.edu/engineering-technology-careers.

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC has four campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.