Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA alumnus and local business owner hosts Swedish exchange student

August 26, 2014 - University Marketing Communications
Matt Turner, SFA alumnus and owner of Turner Fabrication, (right) shows exchange student Jonatan Jakobsson how to use equipment in his metal fabrication shop. Jakobsson will observe the daily operations of Turner Fabrication for one month before returning to Älvdalens, Sweden, to complete his final year as a welding student at Älvdalens Educational Center.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Matt Turner, a 2009 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University's forestry program and owner of Turner Fabrication, is hosting a Swedish exchange student for one month as a part of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture's partnership with Älvdalens Educational Center in Älvdalens, Sweden.

Jonatan Jakobsson, a welding student, is completing his final year at Älvdalens, a forestry and hospitality post-secondary technical college. As a part of the curriculum, Älvdalens students are required to complete internships in their field of study. Jakobsson said the partnership between his college and the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture was a great opportunity to travel outside of Sweden and learn more about his trade.

"Texas is a beautiful state, and I wanted to see more than Sweden," Jakobsson said.

These cross-cultural connections facilitating student growth are a big reason why Älvdalens and the college of forestry and agriculture forged the relationship.

"In many ways our students can benefit from this exchange," said Ing-Marie Bergman, manager for marketing and internationalization at Älvdalens. "They will learn about another country, get to experience another culture and gain better appreciation of other cultures, as well as their own."

Jakobsson will spend Aug. 15 to Sept. 15 observing the daily operations at Turner Fabrication and learning more about the business from its owner. Turner, who also holds a degree in manufacturing engineering, said he hopes to show Jakobsson more about how the business world operates because the transition from school to the working world can sometimes be difficult for students.

The whir of machinery at Turner's fabrication is in sharp contrast to the quiet forests of East Texas where he studied as an SFA student, but he maintains close ties to the faculty.

"We've known Matt as a student, a colleague and a friend," said Dr. Hans Williams, associate dean of SFA's Arthur Temple College of Forestry.

Turner's history with the college and his local metal fabrication business presented the perfect opportunity to provide a valuable experience for Jakobsson, Williams said.

This summer, five SFA students also visited Älvdalens, Sweden, where they learned about Swedish history and forestry practices. For information on this and related topics, visit the college of forestry and agriculture's website at www.atcofa.sfasu.edu.