Student Spotlight: Vaughn Zimmer

Vaughn Zimmer profile photo in trades shop.

I grew up on a farm near Inglis, MB. I worked on the farm with my dad and grandpa—that’s how I became interested in mechanics and why I applied for the Heavy Equipment Technician program at Assiniboine. Eventually, I’d like to be a mechanic or be able to bring back these skills and knowledge to our farm operation back home. It’s been getting more and more expensive to farm and have other technicians and mechanics repair our equipment. That’s where I come in and how I’d like to be able to contribute. I’ve always liked to tinker and have been interested in farm machinery.

This is my first post-secondary school. There are a few reasons I chose to come to Assiniboine. I had some older friends that attended the program, and they highly recommended it. The other reason is the opportunity to play volleyball for the Assiniboine Cougars. I played volleyball for Major Pratt School in Russell, and then in my grade 12 year I played club volleyball in Brandon. It’s great being able to continue playing while coming to college.

This year has been pretty tough with the pandemic and the safety restrictions closing gyms. It’s been a little bit wonky, and it’s hard not being able to practice. Hopefully, we can get back to things soon and start practices again. We started the year playing on split courts for practices and eventually were able to jump into full-court practices, but that was before a lot of the new restrictions came in. We were able to have a few exhibition games and practices against the Brandon University alumni team, but that’s been about it. Our coaches are incredible, and they bring a lot of knowledge and experience with them. I’ve been on a few different sports teams, volleyball and hockey—I think our volleyball team has some of the best chemistry I’ve been a part of.

The Heavy Equipment Technician program has been really good. Like I mentioned earlier, I had a little bit of experience coming into the program from working on our farm, but being able to learn from the instructors here has been invaluable. It’s nice being able to still spend time in the shops and learn from them and the program. I think my instructors have done a pretty good job adapting to the current situation. If I don’t understand something, I’m able to ask for help and they make the time.

Vaughn Zimmer working in trades shop.

At home on the farm, I’ve mainly been an operator of our machinery. I wasn’t too involved in repairs or fixing things when something went wrong. I wouldn’t know why or what happened with something, and now it seems like every day in class I’m learning things and I’m saying to myself “Oh, that’s why that happened or how I could fix it”. For example, one time on the farm I was hauling grain and I burnt out the clutch brake in our semi. In class, we’ve taken apart a transmission and clutch, and I now know why and what happened in that specific situation. I’ll be able to take that knowledge and apply it in the future.

I’m not exactly sure yet what I want to do after the program. I’m considering and leaning towards taking even more education at Assiniboine. The Agribusiness program would complement this program well, and I’d be able to take even more skills and knowledge back home or to whatever I decide to do in the future.