Jerod Splan of Iron Ridge is a student unlike any other. He was born completely deaf, but it is clear that he has the determination to face any challenge on this path. As a student in the automotive program, Jerod has spent the past 2-years perfecting his life-long passion.
“I’ve been around cars all my life,” Jerod said. “My Dad and Grandfather both enjoy working on cars as a hobby. I knew from a young age that this was my life calling.”
Jerod is a 2008 graduate from Lomira High School, and after graduation, he enrolled at Moraine Park in the CNC/Tool & Die program at Moraine Park. He enjoyed the program, and learned a lot, but couldn’t deny that his mind always drifted to back to automotive. So, Jerod enrolled at Moraine Park again in 2016. He came into the program already familiar with cars and the automotive industry but was looking to build upon those skills.
“The program gives a good introduction to the industry,” he said. “I’ve learned the right way to do things and how to perform my job safely. My instructors Jim, Frank, Craig, and Tim are great. I’ve learned a lot.”
In fact, for the automotive instructors, Jerod was their first deaf student, offering learning opportunities all around, such as introducing deaf culture, visual aids, and supplying a videophone to call customers.
“Moraine Park has worked hard to accommodate my learning,” Jerod said. “I’ve had my interpreter, Tammy, by my side daily, and the learning is very visual. English is not my first language, American Sign Language (ASL) is, but I’ve found the transition to learning here to be very easy.”
There’s no denying that Moraine Park is working to fill employment gaps in the industry, but there is also an overall goal to make sure learning is possible for all who aspire to earn it. Of course, Jerod didn’t stop with just utilizing the classroom, he also involved himself in student life.
“Jerod has brought such a fun dynamic to the student life department,” Sam Saeger, student involvement specialist said. “He has made the most of his college experience by joining student senate, attending conferences, and being a part of the Automotive Club. ”
Jerod can be found around Fond du Lac’s campus, participating in activities or simply enjoying the company of his friends at the College.
“I’ve enjoyed meeting new people,” he said. “I’ve made some great friendships, and have been given opportunities to grow.”
Jerod will be graduating on May 18 with his automotive technician associate degree.
“I’m proud that I have faced the challenges,” Jerod said. “I could have been afraid or have hidden, but instead I embraced it. I have been given many opportunities and am happy with my experience at Moraine Park.”