Photo Courtesy of Alberto Aponte
Alberto Aponte loves teaching. When speaking about what’s new and what’s next in electronics, solar-powered systems, and java programming, the Columbia-born TCI electronics instructor and chairperson beams. The fourteen-year TCI veteran instructor imparts his students with real-time experience using up-to-the-minute industry standards to build systems that innovate.
He takes pride in the recent drone created by his students and the solar panels they build. He looks forward to the endless possibilities in robotics, phone apps and how technology will better assist the medical field. The Industrial Electronics Technology – Computer Technology Track (IETC) program, which attracts a high share of military veterans, offers intimate classes with no more than 12-15 students. There, they get individual attention and hands-on experience that is unmatched. “When you graduate from this program, you will be able to work the next day,” Aponte says with confidence. “We make sure they understand and we teach the real thing.”
Below Aponte, who spends his down time playing soccer every weekend, shares why he’s passionate about the programs at TCI and why he can’t wait for his students to build his dream project: A TCI robot that says, “Welcome to TCI College, how may I help you?”
“When you graduate from this program, you will be able to work the next day. We make sure they understand and we teach the real thing.”
TCI: How did you become an electronics teacher?
Albert Aponte: When I was in college in my [native] country, electronics was the main type of technology. I have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering; it was a brand new program and it was exciting because back then, technology was all about telecommunication. That is what made television and radio possible. I began teaching because it is something that I truly enjoy because every day there is something new to learn and to teach.
TCI: What do you love about teaching electronics at TCI?
AA: What I love most about what we do at TCI is that we get to innovate. We have two classes, an introduction to microprocessors and a solar-power system course; we also have systems to give you the volts. The student comes out of the program being able to design the whole system, from the first panel to connecting all the panels that are needed for operation. They learn how to determine the amount of energy that is needed from hands-on experience because we have the real panels to work on. When you graduate from this program, you will be able to work the next day. We make sure they understand and we teach the real thing.
TCI: You also teach programming. Are you creating phone apps?
AA: The students learn all the techniques used in high-level java programming. Our classroom is interactive and we go over all the other programs and we do a lot of graphics and create phone apps.
TCI: What type of students typically take your course?
AA: We have many, many veterans coming back from the Army, Navy and Marines, and they love technology and already have some experience, so they bring that into the classroom and it makes for an even greater learning environment because they are serious about the work and they get into and really do the work.
TCI: Where do you see innovations occur next?
AA: It is happening all around with nano-technology and quantums, but the medical field is wide open for improvement. We haven’t integrated that yet with TCI’s medical programs, but it is something we are looking to get into that at some point.
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