Nick Shaw: General Engineering Technology

nick shaw, general engineering technology at rappahannock community collegeNick Shaw is a student at Rappahannock Community College in the General Engineering Technology: Electrical and Instrumentation program in Glenns, Virginia. He recently completed a very competitive paid 16-week internship at WestRock (a corrugated packaging company) in West Point, Virginia. At the conclusion of his internship, Nick was asked to give a presentation to management on his experiences in the internship, relevance of going to school, safety and the General Engineering Technology program at Rappahannock.

Nick is an Air Force intelligence analyst veteran from Gloucester. After he left the service, he sold cars for a while and then enrolled at Rappahannock Community College. He didn’t really have a pathway in mind when he started, but an advisor introduced him to Tom Danaher, the professor in the General Engineering Technology department. When Nick walked into the lab, he was hooked. He expects to graduate in May 2020 and has been invited to remain at WestRock, part-time in the fall while he finishes his degree.

Nick said (earlier in the year), “I decided on this program because I enjoyed working on and fixing things, as well as the excellent career prospects that come with it.”

High Earning Potential

RCC Professor Tom Danaher says, “Electrical & Instrumentation spans many fields. Graduates from this program are qualified to work at power companies, chemical companies, hospitals, trouble-shooting equipment, calibrating medical equipment, and a host of other industries and responsibilities.”  Professor Danaher goes on to say that “according to, the median-range pay in this field in 2018 was a whopping $92,500. Technicians starting in this field can expect $50,000 to $60,000 per year!”

Another factor in this field is job security. Although there is the possibility of automation taking over jobs, there will always be a need for technicians to work on and maintain that automation, as automation will not work without human intervention. And, it’s the General Engineering Technology students who will fulfill those positions.

To find out how you can become part of this exciting, high-demand, and high-paying field, contact Tom Danaher at Rappahannock Community College: or 804-758-6700.