Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Technology Student and Alpine Skier
Marquette native, Jon Seaborg, attends Northern Michigan University as a third year student working towards an associate certificate in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Technology.
CNC Technology was developed in the United States in the 1950's for the US Air Force by metalworking machine tool builders. It was a major advance in the ability of machines to dependably reproduce complex part machining steps more accurately without human intervention or variability.
CNC refers to how a machine operates, that is, its basic method of controlling movement. A CNC machine uses a stream of digital information (code) from a computer to move motors and other positioning systems in order to guide a spindle over raw material. A CNC machine uses mathematics and coordinate systems to understand and process information about what to move, to where, and how fast.
Jon Seaborg, enjoying machining and working with his hands, knew that CNC Technology would be the right fit for him. A fan of numbers and mathematics, Seaborg benefits from the hands on CNC program at Northern. When asked why he chose to receive his degree from Northern Michigan University, he said the decision was simple, “I love Marquette; I grew up here, like the area, and many of my friends go to Northern. The community, along with the university has a friendly atmosphere.”
“Not only is Northern a great place to get an education, but it is a great place to actively enjoy the outdoors,” Seaborg said as he mentioned his lifetime hobby, Alpine skiing.
Growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where cold, snowy weather is common during a long winter, Seaborg was introduced to alpine skiing at the young age of two. “I can’t remember a winter when I haven’t skied,” he reminisces. Skiing was a family activity—Seaborg’s father was a ski racer growing up, and Jon followed in his father’s footsteps. Although Jon is not a fan of the cold weather, he couldn’t imagine not skiing!
Besides being strapped to pair of skis at the age of two and partaking in the family activity, Seaborg joined the Marquette Mountain Racing Team (MMRT) around the age of ten. As he continued to become a stronger skier, he joined the Great Lakes Ski Academy (GLSA), a more advanced ski club.
“I like the speed; I like going fast,” Seaborg said of the competitive sport.
While attending Northern Michigan University, Seaborg joined NMU’s Ski Team. Practices are during the day throughout the week and are a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Northern competes against many schools throughout the Midwest, such as Michigan State, the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and numerous universities in Wisconsin. The team also races against Michigan Technological University, a great match up between two fairly competitive teams. There are seven collegiate races throughout the winter and more depending if the team members qualify for nationals. During the winter, Seaborg spends his Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays with the team, traveling and competing together.
Speaking of NMU’s Ski Team, Seaborg explained the best thing about being involved with the team is how much fun it is—skiing and traveling.
“There is never a dull moment; it is just an all-around good time!”
The ski team is a great way to meet new people. First, anyone who has an interest in skiing can join the team, and everyone gets to compete in every race. Seaborg stated that meeting students from competing teams has been a great experience.
“I have made so many friends by being involved in alpine skiing, making friendships with students from other schools that I still keep in contact with.”
The NMU Alpine Ski Team has made it to Nationals four years in a row, after qualifying at the regional meet held right here in Marquette during mid to late February. With the top ten skiers continually changing, it keeps the meets competitive and the skiers continually working to improve.
Along with being a member of the NMU Alpine Ski Team, Seaborg also participates in an adult league on Thursday nights, along with many of his Northern team members.
Skiing isn’t the only pastime Seaborg enjoys at Northern. In the off-season he has taken part in sailing. Lake Superior is great for sailing, and it is a great way to spend some free-time out on the water.
When speaking of his time spent at Northern Michigan University, Seaborg couldn’t imagine it any differently. CNC Technology, his professors, and outdoor activities keep him continually learning and staying actively involved.
Seaborg clearly noted Cale Polkinghorne for being an outstanding professor in the CNC Technology program. Not only does he make the program a fun and interesting hands on experience, but he is a great educator and source of information. Polkinghorne also has a hand in alpine skiing by being a starter during ski races.
Seaborg sums up his decision to attend NMU in the simplest of words. “There is nothing more I could ask for here at Northern Michigan University. I benefit from working towards my degree in CNC Technology at a great school with a remarkable program, while participating in my favorite activity, alpine skiing!”