Chris Pinnell, a 27-year-old student majoring in automotive maintenance, has made a remarkable journey from the United Kingdom to Ivy Tech Indianapolis. His story highlights how summer classes at Ivy Tech can provide essential hands-on experience and technical knowledge, helping students achieve their career goals.

Pinnell's extensive background in the automotive industry provided him with a solid foundation, and he sought to further enhance his skills by enrolling at Ivy Tech Indianapolis to gain practical, hands-on experience. 

"I've done sales, logistics, marketing, and pretty much every aspect of the automotive industry apart from actual hands-on experience, which I always had an interest in," he explains. 

The decision to take summer classes was driven by both necessity and opportunity. 

"Two of the classes that I had to take as part of my technical certificate are only offered during summer," he notes. These classes, focusing on climate control and engine performance, are crucial for his technical certification and provide seasonally relevant, practical knowledge​.

Pinnell finds that summer classes at the Indianapolis campus slightly differ from regular semesters in several ways. For starters, he appreciates the smaller class sizes and the more engaged student body. 

"I feel like more people want to be here rather than have to be here," he observes. This focused and motivated atmosphere has enhanced his learning experience, making the summer semester particularly productive​.

Balancing summer coursework with other commitments can be challenging, but Pinnell has found an effective strategy. 

"I prefer to compress all my classes into one day, so then I have more time available through the rest of the week for my other commitments," he shares. This approach allows Pinnell to maintain his status as a full-time student while also working and managing personal responsibilities​.

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Pinnell’s academic achievements are impressive. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA, been on the Dean's List for two semesters, and received a scholarship for the summer semester. He attributes his success to the supportive faculty and the practical learning environment at the automotive center. 

"The way Ivy Tech instructors teach really resonated with me to the point where I understand the information very well, and it has really helped me apply it in day-to-day situations," he says​​.

Looking ahead, Pinnell plans to work in the industry for a year with a local dealership, gaining manufacturer-based training and preparing for the Automotive Service Excellence exam. 

"The knowledge and practical experience that I've gained in my time here will really help me to effectively go anywhere when it comes to working in the automotive trade," he asserts. His goal is to leverage this experience to secure a job and potentially obtain business sponsorships and dealership partnerships.

Throughout his journey, Pinnell emphasizes the invaluable support and connections provided by the faculty at Ivy Tech. 

"The faculty and their connections are invaluable. They go above and beyond to help their students when they ask for it," he affirms, highlighting the consistent dedication and high standards maintained by the instructors.

Chris Pinnell's story exemplifies the enriching and supportive environment that Ivy Tech Indianapolis offers to its students–no matter the semester. His experience demonstrates how summer classes can be a powerful tool for achieving educational and career aspirations, providing practical skills, and fostering a dedicated learning community.

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About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.