The Class of 2007's Path to Graduation:
M.S. Mechanical Engineering
There have been great academic experiences at UNL: The tight-knit study group I had in biological systems engineering during undergraduate was an incredible emotional and academic support. My undergraduate research work with Curtis Weller whet my taste buds for a career of research and development. My master’s thesis project with my adviser Carl Nelson has reaffirmed my passion for working with medical professionals to help them treat their patients. I was able to take the project (the development of an infant surgical table) from inception to design/ invention to working successful prototype and patenting/licensing. It tied together almost everything I have learned in my undergraduate and master’s degrees as well as previous internship and research experiences.
My time spent with the St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center and FOCUS were the best non-academic experiences. Part of development is spiritual as well as intellectual. Through my time, experience and friendships there, I grew closer to the Lord and really took on my Catholic faith as an adult.
I always looked at engineers as these incredible, knowledgeable, untouchable professionals. It has been a humbling experience to join those ranks and realize that the more you learn, the more there is to learn.
I plan to work in medical device design as a liaison between surgeons and engineers. I’m excited and ready for new challenges and adventures. I expect a number of learning and trying experiences especially in the first years of full-time professional work; however, my internship and research experiences make me confident that with the Lord’s grace I can and will adapt.
B.S. Chemical Engineering
One of the best academic experiences I’ve had was working on the Chem-E car. The objective is to build a small car that fits in a shoebox and is completely powered by a chemical reaction. Competitions are held at regional and national American Institute of Chemical Engineers conferences. The UNL chapter had not participated in this event for as long as anyone could remember, and I led a group to bring it back. In the end we managed to build a solid car that placed fifth at regionals.
When I started at UNL, I was a scared little freshman. Through my friends and peers and various activities, I’ve grown more confident and capable. I’m able to leave knowing I can do all the things I thought about as a freshman. That confidence is half of what I need to succeed as an engineer.
There is more to engineering than the formulas in books. What the formulas say should happen doesn’t always happen, and the engineering comes in accounting for the gremlins and still being able to do something useful with the data that one gets. On the same note, there are plenty of good ideas, but few good approaches. The engineering comes in designing the approach.
I am excited about moving to the Fairfax, Va., area to work with ExxonMobil in the real-time optimization group. Based on an available crude, minute-byminute basis, I will determine the best products to make and how to make best use of existing facilities. I went to Virginia during spring break with my friend who is also going to work for Exxon. While looking for a place to live, we saw lots to do within driving distance, such as camping, climbing and various historical locations.