Incoming Wallace State students make up inaugural FAME class as sponsors announce selections

Stephanie Lara-Herrera will be sponsored by C&A Automation in Huntsville beginning with the fall semester. Wallace State has 13 students sponsored for the inaugural FAME class. Eight local industries have currently pledged to sponsor Wallace State students through the FAME program.

HANCEVILLE, Ala. –  Wallace State’s Mechatronics program recently hosted its inaugural Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) signing as 13 students were announced as the first group to be sponsored by local business and industry.

The FAME program is a five-semester program, allowing students the opportunity to earn wages while completing an associate’s degree in Industrial Maintenance. Over a two-year span, students can earn as much as $33,500, spending two days per week in the classroom and three days per week in the industry.

Incoming Wallace State students for the Fall 2019 semester make up the inaugural class. Each student interviewed with the eight companies sponsoring students, and the selections were announced at the signing.

“When your brand joins with our brand, it’s a wonderful partnership. We’re delighted you’ve placed your trust in Wallace State and that you’re investing in these students. We are excited to launch this program,” said Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics.

Hanceville High’s Stephanie Lara-Herrera is among the inaugural students in the FAME program. She’ll be sponsored by C&A Automation in Huntsville.


“This program is important and exciting. The world is changing and there’s always going to be a need for employees in this field,” Herrera said. “I was actually interested in attending lineman school somewhere, but when I was approached about this opportunity, I knew I couldn’t turn it down.”

Matthew Glover, 22, feels the same way. He was among the five students selected by Kamtek for the program. He’s transferring to Wallace State because of the FAME initiative.

“It’s a great opportunity for me. I’ve always had an interest in this field, and I believe this will be the best way to learn as much as I can,” said Glover, a Birmingham native.

Students sponsored during the event were:

Zachary Gregg – ZeroRPM (Cullman)

Nathan McKee – Alabama Cullman Yutaka Technologies, Inc.

Francisco Tomas – Louisiana Pacific – LP Products (Hanceville)

Jamie Marsh – Sonoco Reels and Plugs (Hartselle)

Dustyn Parker – Remington (Huntsville)

Caleb Matzer and Stephanie Lara-Herrera – C&A Automation (Huntsville)

Hunter Byrams – Reliance Worldwide Corporation (Cullman)

Matthew Glover, Adrian White, Zachary Taylor, Josh Forsyth and Ethan Hallmark – Kamtek (Birmingham)

“This is a day of celebration. You get to join arm-in-arm with a company that believes in you and is supporting you. The FAME program has altered our mindset across different departments at Wallace State. It’s putting our students at an advantage above their peers,” said Jimmy Hodges, Wallace State’s Dean of Applied Technologies. “I get excited when I see our local business and industries believing in the product we produce. I have no doubt the Wallace State FAME program will develop into the best in the state.”

The FAME program began in Kentucky in 2009 with Toyota as one of the main initial industry sponsors, and the initiative has been established in Alabama in recent years.

Students in the program complete technical core principles in measurement and technical drawings, electricity, PLCs, robotics, fluid power, mechanics and fabrication in addition to system integration and industrial troubleshooting. Different levels of manufacturing and safety cores are included each semester with hopes of the students graduating to eventual roles in maintenance management roles.

“I’m amazed at the opportunities our students have. There was nothing like this when I was their age. This offers students the opportunity to learn skills in the classroom, practice in the lab, go out into the workforce while they’re still in the classroom, and continue to learn the trade,” said Wallace State Mechatronics instructor Keith Tolbert. “I can’t wait to see this program grow. We’re off to a great start.”

Tolbert and Christina Holmes in the Wallace State Career Services Department are coordinating the program at Wallace State.

For more information about FAME, contact Tolbert at 256-352-8154 or Holmes at 256-352-8120 or visit

For more information about Wallace State, visit