Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photography Provided

Ryan Mast, a natural-born creator, has always had an interest in developing prosthetics to help those with disabilities. He also enjoys a challenge.

“I like robotics and would like to make a fully autonomous being,” Mast says. “I love creating movie, TV and video-game prop replicas – usually sci-fi – for myself and friends.”

A couple of years ago Mast found himself looking into the programs that Ivy Tech offers because he wanted to get more hands-on experience with a computer numerical control (CNC) machine before he and a friend invested in one for themselves. When he found that Ivy Tech had the programs he was interested in, he decided it would be wise to take a class, to try out the machines and get some instruction.

“I was initially intimidated by the thought of going to college,” Mast says. “I was nervous that I would struggle or hate it, but instead I really enjoyed it.”Ryan Mast

Soon thereafter, he started looking at everything Ivy Tech offered, and imagining working towards a college degree and post-college career path.

Ryan Mast appreciated having the opportunity to learn directly from people who already work in industries. He’s also impressed by the school’s friendly staff, nice facilities, modern equipment, flexible schedule and affordability.

“Finding something with more diverse scheduling options to work around my job, and a price I could afford without getting a loan, was important to me,” Mast says. Having multiple campuses in Anderson, Marion, Kokomo, Richmond and Indianapolis that are just a short drive away is also convenient, in the event that he wants to take a class that’s not offered in Muncie.

Ivy Tech provides students with many opportunities to get plugged in with peers. Mast is currently vice president of the student government, and was previously the director of communications. He’s served as vice president for the Campus Activities Board, and also participated in the Student Philanthropy Group, Ivy Life, Phi Theta Kappa’s honor society and the Student Leadership Academy. He thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Student Leadership Academy because it made him think about situations and those around him differently.

“It was wonderful to be around others all looking to better themselves and improve their leadership qualities,” he says. “It’s rare to be in a room with so many others that you can see such potential in. It was inspiring just to be around that group.”Ryan Mast

In December 2023 Mast will complete the classes needed for his Associate of Applied Science degree in machine tool technology, with a focus on CNC, and a degree in design technology with a focus on mechanical design. Soon he will start pursuing degrees in industrial electrical technology, industrial mechanical technology, the transfer program for mechanical engineering, and advanced automation and robotics.

“Basically I’m studying nearly everything that will improve my ability to fabricate,” Mast says. “Education empowers me to make more complex things really well. Thanks to Ivy Tech, I’ll have a chance to make a career out of my passion.”

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