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Cupp joins SWCC as new automotive instructor

Grant Cupp, SWCC automotive instructor, pauses while performing maintenance on a V8 engine.
Grant Cupp, SWCC automotive instructor, pauses while performing maintenance on a V8 engine.

Southwestern Community College has hired a new automotive instructor, Grant Cupp. Cupp begins his first teaching position Aug 21 and begins instructing classes on Aug 26. Cupp a 2016 graduate, will join his former instructor and mentor Jeff Sorensen. Cupp’s teaching role will be instructing high school students from surrounding areas who will be attending college classes during the academic school year, while Sorensen heads the main automotive program.

Education and Career

Cupp’s automotive career was launched by an internship in 2014 at a GM dealership and later an independent shop, Roy’s Auto Repair, while he finished high school in Earlham. Cupp then went on to earn his Associate of Applied Science degree in automotive technology from SWCC. Cupp holds an ASE master technician certification, a G1 certification in maintenance, and an L1 certification as an advanced level specialist. After he finished his degree in 2016, Cupp continued working for Roy’s Auto Repair, until he was hired by SWCC in July.

Cupp found inspiration in his youth from his grandfather, who was a mechanic his entire life.

“He always wanted to do quality work. That inspired me,” said Cup. “He was never concerned about making as much money as he could or turning out jobs as quick as possible. It was just about making sure people received a good repair at a fair rate.”


Cupp intends to continue working within the established instructor to student method upon which SWCC has built its reputation, from which Cupp found inspiration in former instructors Steve Smalls and Jeff Sorensen.

“I really want to be able to fill the footsteps of the instructors that came before me,” Cup said, “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about lessons they taught me and how they inspired me. That is what I like about SWCC — it’s a smaller school. There is more of a one-on-one between students and instructors. My instructors were more than people that just taught; there was somewhat of a family atmosphere. You could go to them with anything and they would help you. Seeing the change those instructors made in my life, if I could do that for just one student, it would be worth it.”

Cupp is looking forward to working with and teaching people who are passionate about automotive technology as much as he is.

“I am excited to work with people who want to learn more about automotive,” Cupp said. “Hopefully I can help them get to where they want to be.”

This is Cupp’s first teaching position, but he feels that his age and knowledge of automotive technology will give him an edge when it comes to workjing with his students and instruction style.

“I won’t be much older than a lot of these students and I think that will help,” said Cupp, “I grew up with new technology coming out all the time. I think that because of this I will be able to relate and understand more of what they may be dealing with so I can help them work through it.”

Cupp feels that college offers students the opportunity to learn more than just curricular subjects and allows them to grow as people.

“Going to schools is a lot like going to a job,” said Cupp. “In college you learn a lot about responsibility, life choices and the world around you.”

Cupp currently resides in Patterson a town just outside of Winterset with his girlfriend Kaitlin. In his free time Cupp enjoys working on automotive related projects. He is currently working on restoring a 1966 Chevelle.

“I have had many others,” said Cupp. “But this was the dream car that I have always wanted to work on.”

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