April 29, 2005

Two SIUC students will attend automotive camp

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Two students from Southern Illinois University Carbondale's automotive technology department will spend time this summer in Asia learning about the Korean automotive industry.

KIA Motors Corporation is reserving two slots for SIUC students to travel to South Korea to attend the first KIA Advocate Training Camp in July. The camp will allow students from throughout the world to learn about KIA, its vehicles and the company's future while also experiencing Korean culture.

The camp runs July 11-15, and includes tours of major KIA facilities. Tours include corporate headquarters in Seoul, the company's largest of three production centers in Hwasung, a research and development center, and the Chon-An training center. KIA covers the costs of the trip, including meals and lodging.

The slots are open to students under 25, who are interested in KIA and KIA vehicles, and who have no difficulty in English communication.

KIA officials will select students based on applications and interviews and about 15 students have expressed interest, said Jack S. Greer, chair of the automotive technology department. The camp consists of technical automotive presentations, as well as tours of Korean culture.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime," Greer said. "The automotive industry is getting to be such an international industry; this is just another step in helping our students understand it."

Greer and Paul D. Sarvela, dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, are proud that SIUC is receiving two of the 32 slots available to automotive students worldwide. That, Greer said, "says a lot about the program," which is considered one of the best in the nation.

"We were delighted to hear that KIA has invited our students to visit their firm," Sarvela said. "It will be a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn about a fine automotive corporation, to strengthen our ties with our friends from Korea, and to learn about the Korean culture.

"That our students were invited to this program is further evidence of the faculty commitment to excellence in education and research, as well as our world-wide reputation in the area of automotive technology."

Several SIUC graduates work for KIA, Greer said.

KIA Motors was founded in 1944 and originally made bicycle parts by hand. The company produced Korea's first motorcycle in 1961, and first truck in 1962. The company produced KIA's first gasoline engine in 1973, and its first passenger car in 1974. In late March, the company celebrated its 5 millionth export.

Providing opportunities for experience-based learning and enhancing international relationships are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

For more information, contact Jack S. Greer at 618/453-4024.