• Student Stories: Gary Higginbotham and Julie Starr


  • Architectural Engineering Technology

    Gary Higginbotham and Julie Starr know scholarships are hard to come by, but it was by no stroke of luck - or coincidence - the two Mt. Hood Community College students were both recently selected to receive awards from the Home Builders Foundation of Metropolitan Portland (HBF) and the Oregon Community College Association (OCCA).

    Higginbotham, of Gresham, and Starr, of Sandy, are students in the Architectural Engineering Technology (AET) program at MHCC, studying to work in the field of architectural design and construction.

    The flexibility of the AET program, Higginbotham said, allows students to be active and productive in their educations and careers.

    Higginbotham, who has started his own business, GMH Design in Gresham, said the AET program at MHCC has allowed him the opportunity to meet with experts in architectural engineering and design and “gain priceless experience.”

    Higginbotham and Starr actively network with leaders in the construction industry including remodelers and builders from the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland, through which the HBF awards are offered. They have worked on several projects including NW Natural’s Street of Dreams in Clackamas County, and floor plans for offices and classrooms at the Bend Airport. They are also active members of the American Society of Certified Engineering Technicians (ASCET) Club.

    The two scholarships awarded to Higginbotham and Starr will allow them to continue on the path to a successful career in architectural building design. Given annually to students who show the potential to excel in the industry, the $1,800 HBF awards will help the students pay for tuition and supplies during this academic year.
    “It’s exciting to see the builders and remodelers investing in the future of their industry by supporting our students,” said Mike Brayson, AET program adviser.

    Recipients of the OCCA Student Scholars Award are chosen based on academic excellence, community involvement and contributions to the learning environment on campus, and are eligible to receive a $1,000 scholarship upon transferring to a four-year university.

    In AET, Starr has worked in computer-aided design (CAD), light frame construction and building design, and has been able to incorporate different aspects of her personality into her class work and on the job.
    “It takes dedication to be so involved,” Starr said, “but the teachers in the Engineering programs are excellent.

    They go above and beyond to help academically, professionally, and personally. ”