University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of EngineeringOnline: Autumn 2010
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Making a difference with mentoring; Mechanical engineering student Jordan Burchatz leads efforts to attract students Jordan Burchatz pic

“It seems natural to tutor and I try to use what worked for me to find what connects them to the idea or problem,” he added. Burchatz likes to meet challenges head-on; that’s how he approaches his new quest to study abroad in Germany next year, even without any German language experience so far.

“International experience is important for my own benefit and for a career,” he said. “It seems like a long time away from home, but really it’s only one year of my life and will be a great experience.”  While in Germany, he’ll take engineering classes, learn German, and also experience an internship.

Long nights are the norm for many engineering students and Burchatz is no exception. “Last semester was pretty rough,” he admitted, “and this semester I have fewer hours but more work.” He understands, however, that “all these experiences are preparing me for my future.” His interest in vehicle design, or perhaps nanotechnology, are some of the options he’s considering.

In high school, Jordan Burchatz didn’t exactly know what engineers did, but he’d heard they were problem solvers and that was something he enjoyed. He came to UNL from Watertown, S.D., and became a mechanical engineering major. Now a junior, Burchatz has no regrets about his choice.

“I’ve always thought that when I considered whether my life was worthwhile, it was because I made a difference,” Burchatz said. “I can do that with engineering.”

One way he’s already making a positive impact is in his leadership role with the college’s Diplomats organization in Lincoln. The college offers programs in Lincoln and Omaha for students to serve as Ambassadors, Delegates or Diplomats, representing Nebraska Engineering to potential students. They give tours, attend college fairs, and assist at other outreach events.

Burchatz uses his engaging style to organize these individuals for these endeavors. The students are especially helpful at such events as the annual UNL Big Red Road Show, along with the college’s Discover Engineering Days for middle school students.

Another project is coordinating a new outreach program with Lefler Middle School students in Lincoln. The college has “adopted” the school’s math classes and offers tutoring and other incentives to help the younger students learn and enjoy math.

“The middle schools students are really fun to work with,” he said. “They have a little bit of an attitude, but I still remember those days myself, so we get through it easily.”

Burchatz feels a natural affinity with the students and hopes these interactions help the middle schoolers; he knows first-hand how the tutoring experience benefits the engineering participants.

Alex Henery | Vanessa Mpon A Ndonhong | Ashley Schmidt | Matt, Dan & Eric Tesarek
Yulia Tyukhova | Jordan Burchatz | Mitch Klein


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