AJ Wiggin, 20

Diesel Technology, City College
Charlo, Montana

AJ in the auto tech lab

October 28, 2016

By Blair Koch, University Relations and Communications, 657-2269

As part of his diesel technology studies, A.J. Wiggin has been tearing apart and then rebuilding an Onan generator.

Much of his class time takes place in automotive bays at City College at Montana State University Billings, and since the learning is hands-on, safety glasses protect his eyes and a layer of dark grease permeates Wiggin’s fingers as he nimbly screws tiny parts back onto place.

“My Mom and uncle both operate heavy machinery and I got into it while visiting the Fort Knox mine in Fairbanks, Alaska,” Wiggin said. “The mechanics at the mine showed me around and how things worked and I really liked it.”

The 20-year-old explained he was inspired by his mom to work on heavy machinery after seeing her enjoy it.

“My mom was a stay-at-home mom until she got divorced from my step-dad during (my) freshman year of high school,” Wiggin said. “She got into the field because of my uncle and never looked back.”

The family moved to Alaska for work but soon returned to Charlo, where Wiggin graduated high school in 2015. 

AJ working on an engine in the City College lab

With a sister in Billings, Wiggin knew the City College program would be a good fit and he likes living in the residence halls on the University Campus.

“I really enjoy the atmosphere on both campuses and seeing the different majors and the people that are drawn to them,” Wiggin said.

AJ Wiggin
Wiggin is driven and passionate about experiencing college life to the fullest. In addition to carrying 15-credit hours, he is the vice president of both the SkillsUSA Club and Phi Beta Kappa, participates on the Student Activities Board, works part-time and is completing an internship with Titan Machinery in Billings.

On Saturday, November 5, the SkillsUSA Club will host its annual Winterization Clinic at City College. The event is free and open to the public and is where students, supervised by staff, inspect vehicles (both foreign and domestic) for battery condition, safe tire pressures and conditions, proper fluid levels (including coolant), belt and hose inspection, and make recommendations as needed.

Wiggin is excited to be a part of so many organizations and classes and is enjoying his time.

“I really think you get the experience you want; that you get what you put into it,” he said.

Once Wiggin has finished the two-year program he plans on transferring to Montana State University-Northern in Havre to complete a bachelor’s in diesel technology.

After graduation, he will pursue a career as a service technician.