Bright Future for Dutchess Engineers-Ursula Robb


Mark Courtney is the head of the Engineering Department at Dutchess Community College. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York with a degree in material science and engineering. After college, Courtney worked for IBM for several years, working on computer systems. When IBM started to decrease in size, Courtney gained a job working on solar panels before finding his passion for teaching.

Courtney taught at Dutchess for the past eleven years. He reported that the number of students enrolling in Dutchess overall has gone down. However, the enrollment in the engineering program is “way up,” but has gone down this past year by twenty percent.

The engineering program has two new labs in Taconic Hall. One opened for the use of students last year. The second lab will have the equipment needed by later next week.

The lab will have technology geared towards mechanical engineering and material sciences. The equipment includes 3D printers and a differential scanning calorimeter, which measures the different melting points of objects. It will also have a metallurgical testing device used to look at the different molecular structures of metals and a viscometer, which measures viscosity.

The engineering program offers a variety of classes that are easily transferrable to a multitude of other universities. Many classes offered at Dutchess give the students well rounded background information on all types of engineering.

“Everybody gets this foundation because engineering is almost all the time a team effort,” said Courtney. “The reputation of the program has grown a lot.”

As a practicing engineer, he gives helpful insight into what it might be like in the field for future engineers.

“There’s going to be a lot of opportunities in engineering with the new technologies like solar, wind power, and battery storage is going to be a big thing,” said Courtney.

The future for engineers at Dutchess looks bright with Courtney as their teacher.