Jon Silberhorn II and his wife Hollie, with children (from left) Hope, Noel, Michael and Jonathan. Photo by B.A. Rupert.
Jon Silberhorn II is usually up before the sun. Every day, he says goodbye to his wife and four young children to be on the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus early for his 8 a.m. lectures. But he’s not teaching the classes. He is taking them.
The junior from St. Peters, Mo., is studying mechanical engineering to support his family in a career he’s always been interested in. Silberhorn’s associate’s degree in electronics was not supporting his family and left him working odd jobs to make ends meet. He’s been a cook at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, manager of a Radio Shack, a business-to-business salesman and a server at the Boeing Leadership Center.
A co-worker at the Boeing Leadership Center prodded, “I know why I am here, but why are you, Jon?” With this little push, Silberhorn enrolled in introduction to engineering at St. Charles Community College (SCC) and earned an A. After completing his general education classes, Silberhorn made the tough decision to move his family to Rolla so he could attend S&T.
For Silberhorn, uprooting his family was the hardest part of the transition. “We made friends in St. Peters and knew who to call to babysit the kids or borrow tools from,” he says. “When we got to Rolla we knew no one; we had to start all over.”
It is a constant battle for balance between family and school, but Silberhorn is managing it all and doing well in his classes. “It is really tough when I have little ones that scream ‘daddy’ when I walk in the door,” Silberhorn says. “Family has to be number one, but my time has to be a balance between school and family.”
Despite the challenges of being a returning and transfer student, Silberhorn knows that it will all be worth it in the end. “A degree from Missouri S&T is well valued in the engineering community,” he says.