EMCC alumnus Emerson Shinn is a 2018 graduate of our Welding Technology program who earned a bachelor’s degree in Building Construction Science from Mississippi State University and a master’s degree in Business Administration. He works full time in the construction field and teaches part time as an adjunct professor.

January 31, 2024

Emerson Shinn was unsure about attending a four-year university with large class sizes straight out of Hebron Christian School where he knew his classmates by name in the small school located in Pheba.

He opted instead to attend East Mississippi Community College and in 2016 enrolled in the Welding Technology program on the college’s Golden Triangle campus.

“I have always liked working with my hands and I grew up on a farm, so welding seemed like a good fit,” Shinn said.

Fast forward to today and Shinn, who now resides in Starkville, is a project manager/estimator with Scott & Sons Construction and Mechanical Services, Inc. in Amory and is a part-time adjunct instructor with Mississippi State University.

After graduating from EMCC in 2018, Shinn continued his education at MSU, earning a bachelor's degree in Building Construction Science, a studio-based program at MSU for those interested in the construction field that is one of two of its kind in the nation, according to the program’s web page. When an opportunity arose to pursue his master’s degree, Shinn took it, graduating in 2023 from MSU with a master’s degree in Business Administration.

“If it all works out and if I get enough time and room to breathe, I want to start taking some classes and working towards getting my PhD,” Shinn said. “My desire to obtain an education started at EMCC but after a while I thought, ‘Since I made it this far, I might as well keep going.’”

He credits EMCC Welding instructor Gary Gammill with encouraging him to continue his studies at MSU.

“Mr. Gammill was the root start of it all,” Shinn said. “He was one of the best instructors, if not the best, I ever had.”

Gammill said he is proud of Emerson for what he has accomplished.

“Emerson excelled in the classroom and I knew he had the potential to do great things,” Gammill said. “I am happy for him and can’t wait to see what he will accomplish next.”

Shinn didn’t know how things would turn out when he first enrolled at EMCC, but he knew he was interested in a career in construction, engineering or architecture. During his freshman year at EMCC, Shinn landed an internship with Scott & Sons Construction that later segued into part-time work throughout his time at MSU.

“I worked for them part time over the summers until I graduated with my master’s degree,” Shinn said. “They let me work during Christmas breaks and part time during those semesters at MSU when it worked out.”

While at MSU, Shinn also served as an administrative assistant for the Building Construction Science department, answering phone calls and helping out as needed. He liked the work and developed a relationship with the program instructors and staff.

He applied for a graduate teaching assistant position within the department, which was available to students enrolled in a graduate program to help offset their educational costs. While working on his master’s degree, he served as a teaching assistant for freshmen enrolled in the Building Construction Science department and occasionally had the opportunity to deliver lectures and lead classes.

“I really enjoyed it,” Shinn said. “The freshmen have some of the coolest classes with the most hands-on work. One of their projects is to build a tiny house. The department gets the materials and the students come up with the design. The instructors critique it and guide them, but the students build a tiny house during their freshman year.”

Last semester, Shinn taught Graphic Construction Communication, which deals with learning to read construction documents. He also taught Materials and Methods. This semester he is teaching an in-person class at MSU in Starkville titled High Performance Construction, as well as an online Construction Technology class for students enrolled at MSU’s Meridian campus.

While he enjoys teaching, Shinn said he plans to continue working full time in the construction industry so he can get hands-on experience needed to master the trade. 

“At some point, I may lean into the education component more and teach until I am ready to retire,” Shinn said.

For now, he is enjoying his work at Scott & Sons Construction.

“I will quote jobs out, draw up plans and get things fabricated for smaller industrial jobs,” Shinn said. “I also create quotes for bids for bigger jobs that may range from a few hundred thousand dollars into the millions.”

The company, which has a full-service metal fabrication shop with design and build capabilities, offers engineering, mechanical and electrical services. The company has also expanded into industrial concrete work, as well as general contracting.

While his work with Scott & Sons Construction is his primary career, Shinn plans to continue teaching as an adjunct.

“I went to school for seven years for construction,” Shinn said. “I guess at some point I just kind of starting liking school. Now I don’t want to leave it. It has its own excitement."