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Philip Westfall
Philip Westfall pictured with a prototype of a "Dulciborn", a cross between a dulcimer and a Weissenborn guitar. Westfall designed the Dulciborn for Gold Tone.
photo by: Joshua Aurigemma

Philip Westfall is not only a current online Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafting Technologies student working towards an A.A.S. degree, but also an alumnus from Southeast Technical's String Instrument Repair program, now known as the Guitar Repair and Building and Violin Repair programs.

After graduating from Southeast Technical in 2007 Westfall worked his way to Florida and now works as the lead product designer at Gold Tone, which makes a variety of string instruments sold worldwide. As he completed his first semester in the CAD program Westfall was able to put much of what he learned to practical use right away. Primarily, he designs and builds prototypes. "As the company keeps growing, there is an increased need for a CAD specialist," said Westfall. "I chose Southeast Technical because of the quality education I received previously and the availability of online courses."

Westfall does school work for two hours each night after his eight month old baby goes to bed. As a full time employee, husband and father, he appreciates the flexibility that online learning provides. In Westfall's unique position, he has been a part of a program that is very hands-on and now in the CAD program everything is on the computer. Westfall was a bit hesitant at first about online learning, but he found it to be a positive experience. "The teachers are there for you when you need them. I've never had to wait," he said. CAD Instructor Jim Ziegler appreciates Westfall's drive, "Philip is a student who works very hard at increasing his skills. He is able to understand one concept and then bring that understanding forward and use it to understand new concepts."

Westfall's advice to other students considering Southeast Technical: "Have at least one goal in mind of what you plan to do with the education you receive and research career opportunities ahead of time. This will help to make your learning experience more productive, rewarding and focused."