NECC Alumnus Launches Computer-Aided Drafting Internship Program
For Jonathan Aguilar ’18, it was a single Northern Essex Community College dual enrollment course that paved the way for his dream career.
Aguilar, a resident of Lawrence, was still in high school when he enrolled in his first computer-aided drafting (CAD) course at NECC. Right away, he says, he became hooked on the subject and the positive impacts that 3D design could have on the modern world.
“I was studying [a field] I really enjoyed and knew it was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” he says.
It was this formative experience, and the appeal of watching his 3D designs come to life, that influenced every step he’s taken since.
Less than a decade later, he holds multiple degrees from NECC, a bachelor’s degree from UMass Lowell, and serves as the founder and project manager of CADSPARC, a 3D CAD design startup incubated and headquartered in UMass Lowell’s Haverhill Innovation Hub. Founded in 2020, the company aims to help organizations address their rapid prototyping needs by offering full service digital manufacturing. The main office is equipped with professional prototyping and design labs and, in just two short years, has successfully helped a range of businesses resolve their 3D printing needs.
Now he’s taking that success one step further with the launch of an internship program – an opportunity that will not only benefit his company, but also the community college that got him his start.
“It was important for CADSPARC to formalize an internship program to support those students that want to do similar work and gain more experience,” he says.
Plans for an internship program were formalized earlier this year, when Aguilar and his colleagues created job postings and began reaching out to students at local colleges, including NECC, who were interested in exploring CAD careers.
By July, after consulting with former professors and peers from both NECC and UMass Lowell, Aguilar was pleased to receive a high volume of applications from NECC in particular. He says he was struck by the realization that so many students from his alma mater were, like him, interested in bettering the world through 3D printing techniques.
Now in full swing, CADSPARC’s program has employed over a dozen student interns, offering them a unique opportunity to engage in a hands-on ten-week experience working in the company’s prototyping and design laboratories. Using their college coursework as a foundation, students apply their knowledge and skills to solve real industry problems and gain experience along the way. CADSPARC currently offers internship options ranging from engineering science to finance and marketing.
NECC computer-aided drafting student Jason Herook, who was among the first students to participate in CADSPARC’s internship program this summer, says the experience was valuable for the results-oriented and interactive approach it took to educating students about operating and maintaining 3D printing equipment. Over the course of ten weeks, he gained familiarity with the materials used in additive manufacturing, in addition to exploring augmented reality technologies and other advancements in 3D design techniques. He says his time as part of the CADSPARC team was invaluable for these reasons.
“A major takeaway from this experience is that I was able to collaborate on projects with a unique group of interns that all shared a similar interest in 3D designing,” Herook says. “As an NECC student, this internship was beneficial to me because I was exposed to brand new technology and programs I had not worked with before.”
For Aguilar, who was once a CAD intern himself, the ability to oversee a successful and growing internship program is a full-circle experience. It is his hope that going forward, CADSPARC will continue to build upon and support such program offerings to better meet the demands of industry and the skills that today’s CAD students need and seek. In the meantime, he encourages any student who is interested in the field to follow their highest ambitions in order to make the most positive impact on the world around them.
“Follow your dreams, do right, and try the best at what you do!” he says. Interested in learning more about CADSPARC? Visit their website at www.cadsparc.com.
This article appeared in the fall edition of alumnecc magazine
Written by Sarah Comiskey