Professional Development & Engineering Internships


Ben Working on his Senior Design Project

Hi! My name is Ben Lorden, I am a senior from Littleton, CO studying Mechanical Engineering . I have thrived during my time at CSU, growing both in the classroom and outside of it. My education has been extended outside of the classroom by the internships I have had over the past two summers, which were highlighted a while ago by the college. In review, the first was with InScope Energy, an energy management firm in Northern Virginia where I worked to research new business opportunities and helped to develop their technologies further. In the second, I worked with Siemens as a technical sales intern, visiting customer sites and learning about the industries they serve. These opportunities helped to develop me as an individual and have prepared me as I now begin transitioning into the workforce. Internships are just one example of the countless opportunities for professional development I have at CSU. Others that I have appreciated are my roles as a Student Ambassador for the Scott College of Engineering and as a Presidential Ambassador for the Colorado State University as a whole.

How has being an Ambassador for the Scott College of Engineering as well as a Presidential Ambassador impacted your experiences at CSU?

In my role as a Student Ambassador for the Scott College of Engineering, I have the pleasure of showing off amazing things that are taking place in our college to prospective engineering students. I have been able to grow in areas like public speaking and leadership through this job, as I have spoken to many groups of varying sizes. This position has been very fun and rewarding while impacting the CSU experience of prospective students from their very first moments on campus to helping them find an engineering major that will lead to a lifetime of learning and success.

As a Presidential Ambassador, I have worked with student perspective from a different approach, interacting with CSU alumni and donors to the university. I have been trained in etiquette, leadership, philanthropy, and service through this role. I have been able to attend black tie events to thank donors, sit in the box suites at the Rocky Mountain Showdown with university leadership, and go to an away football game in Minnesota, interacting with the alumni association there. Being a part of this group of excellent students has shaped my CSU story and has developed my professional skills in networking, and making connections with others.

How has the Scott College of Engineering helped you personally to develop professionally and as a leader?

One of the key components of the Scott College of Engineering is the emphasis that the program places on team projects. Interactions with others can be tough, especially in stressful situations like the engineering design projects we have, but the lessons I have learned about communication and leadership in these settings is invaluable and will serve me for a lifetime. Gaining experience both as a project leader and as a team member has been enlightening to me, developing my skills in connecting with others, making compromises when needed, and advocating for my opinions graciously.

How have PLI (Professional Leadership Institute) sessions helped you to further your engineering education?

The Professional Leadership Institute is a series of lectures and presentations that are required by most programs in engineering. These sessions emphasize various leadership categories such as ethics, diversity and public engagement. Sometimes large companies will attend and present on their respective industries and innovation taking place in the market, offering advice about the culture of their companies and they may even provide networking opportunities for potential internships or jobs! Other times it might be a session on how to create a LinkedIn profile and how to create an effective engineering resume. Regardless of the presentation, these sessions have impacted my view on leadership and professionalism, and have raised an awareness of the issues facing engineers in the workforce today.

How has your involvement with professional development programming prepared you for a career in engineering?

I look forward to getting into my career in engineering so that I can evaluate how the skills I have learned in school can carry over into the real world. I am sure that there are differences, but I also trust that the skills of communication, teamwork, leadership, etiquette, and service will serve me well going forward. I am so thankful for the well rounded experience that CSU has given me, beyond just an excellent engineering education, in both the leadership and professional development realms.

Mauri Richards at Colorado State University


Hello! My name is Mauri Richards and I am a sophomore from Lakewood, CO. I am currently studying Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering — a dual degree in five years– here at Colorado State University.

Why did you choose to study Biomedical & Mechanical Engineering at CSU?

Honestly, biomedical and mechanical engineering fell into my lap right before I came to school! I had no clue what I wanted to study in college until the summer before I started at CSU. I was considering engineering because I wanted to be challenged in my studies and in my job for the future to come. I used to be a nanny for some family friends that own their own prosthetics company. I was fortunate enough to shadow them for a day and to see what amazing work that they did and I fell in love with prosthetics and wanted a degree that would allow me to help people. After doing some research to see what I could major in that would prepare me to work with prosthetics, a friend mentioned CSU’s dual-degree Biomedical Engineering program to me. This sparked my interest and I figured as far as degrees go, this would be a great place to start! I called CSU and declared my major the day before my orientation session over the summer.

Since starting at CSU, how have you become involved with the campus?

I have tried to be involved in as many clubs and groups around campus as I can, however, there are so many opportunities and I only have so much time! I am currently an officer for the Engineering College Council (ECC) here at CSU. ECC plans Engineering Days (a week in April where senior design projects are showcased along with other fun events for engineering students), distributes money among the other organizations in the college, and ensures that the college is updated on all of the events that are occurring in the various engineering programs and organizations. I work as the Leaders In Freshman Engineering (LIFE) director. LIFE is the main reason I got involved in ECC; it is centered on helping first year students get acquainted with all of the resources that they have on campus and doing fun things together. I am also involved in the University Facility Fee Advisory Board (UFFAB) which decides what construction proposals are funded by students’ university facility fees. Networking through friends and taking opportunities at the beginning of the year have really led me to where I am with all of my clubs!

I’m not always a nerd though! I have found that one of the best ways to be involved on campus is to just be here and talking with others. My friends and I dance the night away each week at swing dancing club. When the weather is nice I love to hang up my hammock by the lagoon with others that I have run into there doing the same thing! Attending workout classes at the Rec and climbing help keep me rounded outside of engineering courses and I usually end up meeting someone new every time I am there. 

What was your experience in engineering research and how do you approach getting involved with on-campus research programs?

In my first semester of my freshman year, I was lucky enough to volunteer at the Orthopedic Bone Research Lab here at CSU. I would have never expected that a research lab would have even considered bringing a first year student on to the team, but they did! Each week I was able to choose when I went into the lab and how much time I stayed to work. The lab was very easy to go to between classes because it was a short bike ride away from campus. I was able to learn about various new lab procedures and how to operate machinery that I still haven’t learned about in my classes (but will soon).  I was even able to scrub into and assist with surgery on a sheep! Although this was such a great learning experience, I learned that research is not for me. While I worked there, I longed for more human interaction: I guess I like talking too much! I would definitely recommend trying to get involved in a research lab at CSU! It helped me learn a lot about the type of work I want to be doing in the future and was a great resume builder.

My Introduction to Biomedical Engineering professor held an information session about how to get involved in research labs on campus during the first few weeks of school. If you would like to get involved, look out for those information sessions, or you can do what I did. First, I looked up all of the professors in mechanical and biomedical engineering at CSU and looked through the type of research that they were completing. This was a lengthy process but was definitely worth the time. I narrowed down the list of professors that I was interested in to about eight to ten people and furthered my research by reading some of their published papers on PubMed. This research allowed me to narrow my interest list to five different professors. I emailed each of those five professors explaining why I was interested in their lab and to see if they needed any more volunteers for the semester. If they do not get back to you, go to the others that you eliminated off the list and keep trying. Or email them again–they are busy people and appreciate students that take initiative. Good luck!

What would you recommend as on-campus housing options for incoming engineering students?

As an engineering student, I would definitely recommend living in an engineering residence hall or an engineering Residential Learning Community (RLC) freshman year. I lived in Corbett Hall my freshman year and my floor wasn’t very close-knit; it was a great home, but not a great place for me personally to meet people. The first time I went into the engineering residence hall in Academic Village (AV), it was like a whole new world! Almost everyone knew each other and I recognized a large amount of them because I had been seeing them in my classes. AV made CSU seem so much smaller; my classes went from a sea of strangers to people I saw in the residence hall all the time. Having a sense of community wherever you end up is almost essential! Being able to pop my head out of the study room and have several people there to help with homework or studying was always amazing. AV ultimately became my home and Corbett was just the place where I slept.

I would also recommend finding a separation between home and school in the dorms. For me, it was hard to relax and get out of the school mode because I was always on campus. I had to nail down times that I would only allow myself to relax in my room rather than continually doing homework–sometimes you just need a brain break! If you can’t find a separation, don’t be afraid to get off campus. I recommend City Park–I hammock there all the time to relax!

What are some of you favorite things to do in Fort Collins?

I don’t know where to even begin with this question! My friends and I have done so many fun things thus far. I love Fort Collins because not only is it a college town, but it’s also a family town. One of my favorite things to do is shop around in old town and people watch in the old town square. There is a great balance between family and fun in this town. Pinball Jones is a unique place with a very homey vibe to play arcade games and of course, pinball. Even though all of these are great activities, my absolute favorite thing to do in Fort Collins is go outside. I love going on walks, running, and hiking. I have walked from my apartment to many of the parks that are around town. I have hiked Horsetooth day and night and made my own trail a few times through Poudre Canyon! The Mishawaka is a very intimate concert venue up the Poudre Canyon, Horsetooth reservoir is nice for a swim, and Rocky Mountain National Park is only about an hour and a half away! I never get bored in Fort Collins– a town with a small and homey feel, yet a fast paced community. 

Looking forward in your curriculum and from what you have seen thus far, what are you the most excited about for your future in engineering?

I am excited for my MECH 200 class that I am currently enrolled in. This is a very challenging and hands on machining course that will allow me to see a side of mechanical engineering that I have not experienced before. We get to work hands-on with large machines and learn the value of accuracy and safety in machining environments. I am also looking forward to my BIOM 300 experimentation lab my junior year. I have heard great things about this class; for example, students are given a problem related to biomedical engineering and are not told to figure it out. Rather than going through lecture upon lecture of learning how to solve a problem, I get to attack it head on with my peers in our lab sessions and use problem solving techniques that I will learn about in class. Another class that I am looking forward to is Mechatronics. I am very excited to be able to complete a project that group members and I will work together on, from envisioning the idea through completion of the design prototype. As I am sure you have noticed, I love the hands-on courses which I have had thus far and am excited for more of those that are in my upcoming classes (there are a lot)!

Ryan Baeverstad at Colorado State University


Why did you choose to attend CSU even though you grew up in Fort Collins?

IMG_0519Colorado State has everything – simply put. It offers so many opportunities as a student, both academically and socially. I have been able to join several organizations, including a fraternity, engineering clubs, intramural sports, and faith organizations. We live right outside the mountains, allowing for a quick trip up to go skiing, mountain biking, hiking, anything. We have one of the best rec centers in the nation. Our classroom and lab facilities are incredible. The Biomedical Engineering dual-degree program is unlike anything I’ve seen across the country. From all of this, people would be crazy not to want to go to CSU – however living close to home often steers students away. Honestly, once you are on campus, it feels like another world. In a sense, you can be as close to home as you want it. If you want to visit home every day, by all means you can. But if you want distance, you can easily create that. I wouldn’t worry about whether or not CSU is close to home; worry about if you think CSU is the right fit for you.

What kind of personal help can you get for your studies at CSU?

It is so easy to get help at CSU. As a freshman engineering student, tutoring is offered every week day in your dorm on your most important classes; Calculus, Physics, etc. That really gives you no excuse to not get some help. You can roll out of bed in your PJ’s and still get the tutoring you need. Aside from that, the TILT building on campus also offers tutoring daily on any subject you need help in. My biggest advice to any student is to take advantage of office hours. All of your professors will offer office hours about once or twice weekly where you can use that time for any help you need. Review for tests, homework help, maybe you didn’t understand a lecture, whatever. Going to office hours will help you tremendously as well as help you build great relationships with your professors.

How does the honors program affect your studies at CSU?

The Honors program really has been awesome. It offers so many benefits to its students; a scholarship, priority registration, smaller class sizes, as well as seminars instead of some of the AUCC (All University Core Curriculum) credits you would need to get out of the way. The workload really hasn’t been overwhelming compared to other students. Some Honors classes may ask a little bit more out of their students, but from what I’ve found, being in a smaller class and having easier accessibility to those professors, its sometimes easier to succeed in the honors sections. Even if you’re debating Honors, I still recommend applying – if you drop Honors, it won’t be the end of the world. The program offers a whole lot for their students as well as puts you in a community of friends who are just as driven as you are.

What is freshman year like at CSU?

As a freshman in engineering, expect a lot of change. The majority of you probably have never taken an engineering class in your life. For me, this was hard. It was like learning a new language; completely foreign to me. My best advice – don’t give up, be persistent. Class sizes will be a lot bigger than you’re used to, probably overwhelm you the first week, but they really aren’t that bad – not something to worry about. The hardest thing freshman year for me was the first month. This was the first time living on my own (keep in mind I’m from Fort Collins – its still a big change). I had to find new friends. I had to find where I fit in and was happiest at. Advice here: put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to try new things. I thought joining an engineering club would be the nerdiest thing ever – I went to it, and ended up loving the opportunities there. I hadn’t ever really considered a fraternity – joined one and now its full of my best friends. I love intramural sports….I knew I would love that one though. Change is big, its scary, but also great. I had an absolutely incredible experience freshman year, largely due to how open I was to try things. There is so much this campus has to offer you, so take advantage of those opportunities and you will have a great year.

What are you involved with on campus?

Campus involvement is huge. If you want to enjoy college, be involved. Yes, going to college is for education – I totally agree with that, so make it your first priority. However, your not paying thousands of dollars every year just for class. You are paying for the entire experience, so take advantage of that. At CSU, there are over 400 organizations; join at least one. I have joined Greek Life, engineering clubs, faith organizations, IM sports, and am a student ambassador for the College of Engineering. I love all of these. They have introduced me to friends, helped develop me professionally, and all have been a blast.

April Rieger at Colorado State University


Why did you choose to attend CSU?

image1When I first started looking at colleges I knew I wanted to stay in Colorado, so I only looked at CU and CSU. I took tours of both campuses but still wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I think what really made my decision was Engineering Exploration Day. Getting to talk to the professors, see the engineering facilities, and tour through the engineering dorms really showed me what studying engineering at CSU would be like. I could see myself living in the academic dorms and walking through the plaza on my way to class. Campus didn’t feel intimidating to me it felt very comfortable which was really important to me. Both schools have great engineering programs and excel academically so for me my decision was more based on where will I enjoy living and studying for the next four to five years. I couldn’t have made a better decision and love living in Fort Collins and attending CSU.

What was appealing to you about Mechanical Engineering that made you pursue it as your degree?

After I decided to study engineering (I really liked Calculus and Physics in High School) I was trying to decide between Civil and Mechanical engineering. I really wanted to go into Aerospace engineering but CSU didn’t have the program and I didn’t want my degree to be so narrowly focused. I’ve always been interested in the way things work and are put together and after taking Engineering 101 I knew that Mechanical Engineering would be more interesting to me. With this degree I will be able to apply it to a number of different industries and projects instead of being stuck in one field. I hope that one day go back and get a Master s in Aerospace engineering but if I decide differently my degree will still be useful.

What is your work load like as a mechanical engineering student?

In terms of the work load it has depended on what classes I am taking that semester, how much I am involved in, and the professor. My first year in the engineering program has definitely been the easiest. The work load was not the lightest but there was a lot of repetition with classes I took in High School. My second year was a lot harder. The classes start to become all engineering classes and I also became involved in things more outside of school. The third year has been the busiest so far but not the hardest. The transition to harder classes was hard my sophomore year but now I know how to handle it. In terms of how much work is assigned it is expected that all engineering classes will have homework assigned every week. If I have classes with a Lab I will have a lab report due every week and could also be assigned group projects that require out of class time. The farther into a mechanical degree the more group projects and labs that will require additional time outside of class. Engineering is hard but it is possible with discipline and work ethic.

What are you involved with on campus at CSU?

My freshman year I was not involved in anything outside of engineering, so come my sophomore year I wanted to make sure that I had more going on than just engineering. I really wanted to get involved with the college and had friends working as student ambassadors. I have loved being a student ambassador because I get to help prospective students see how awesome CSU and studying engineering is. While it was important to me to be involved in the college I really wanted to get to know more people in different majors, so I joined a sorority. Joining a sorority has definitely been one of the best decisions of my college career. I have made some incredible friends and I have had the opportunity to do things I never would have imagined. I have been able to do philanthropy work, give back to the community, and now hold a leadership position as Vice President. These things paired with engineering keep me very busy, but I really loved being involved and working hard.

What statistics about The College of Engineering at CSU would be useful to students searching for schools?

  • Five Year Average (2009-2013) of Graduates with an Internship: 70%
  • 40% of 2013 Graduates were hired for a full time position by Internship Organization
  • 93% of 2013-2014 Graduates had plans for after graduation (67% employment, 25% continuing Education)

For students in the engineering program generally the summer after their Junior Year is when internships are most common. By then they have three years of engineering classes under their belt and employers are looking at interns they can hire for a full time position. Before applying for jobs and meeting with employers, students often use the resume review and mock interview resources the Student Success Center provides. In addition the College of Engineering Hosts two Engineering Career fairs, one in the fall and one in the spring. Some students choose to do a co-op where they take a semester off to work for a company. As the stat above states, sometimes summer internships turn into full time positions. Employers look at the internships and jobs students have held in college, any leadership positions or involvement they have, and GPA when considering them for a position.

Melissa James at Colorado State University


How did you know you wanted to study Civil Engineering?

P1040472When I started applying to college, I honestly did not have any idea of what I wanted to do “when I grew up”.  I had taken a bunch of personality tests that told me I could be anything from a garbage person to a baker.  I decided to go into Civil because that is what my dad does, and I enjoyed the challenge of math and science.  I did not even know what a civil engineer did until my first semester at CSU where the intro class told us about the basics of the career field.  From there, it wasn’t until after my internship the summer after my freshman year at the Bureau of Reclamation in my hometown that I decided civil engineering was something I could actually enjoy.

The major turning point that solidified my choice in civil engineering was during Thanksgiving break of my second year at CSU.  I was taking an honors section of Statics and learning about how all the forces needed to balance out in order for an object to stay still.  My parents and I were road tripping for Thanksgiving in the south, and every time we passed a bridge or building I would nerd out and get overly excited about knowing how it was staying static!

Since then, my focus has narrowed to wanting to focus on the water aspects of civil engineering, such as water resources and hydraulics.  The reason behind this is because of the endless challenge that comes with solving the mysteries of water in this growing world.  It took me some time and adjusting to get here, but the journey has made all the difference in helping me decide who and what I want to be!

 

What drew you to CSU from out of state?

I wanted to come to CSU because I wanted to experience something new and different from the town I grew up in.  California, although only a short drive from my home, was too expensive as an out-of-state student and was a little too close to home anyway.  After that, I saw a poster in the window of my high school counselor’s office for Colorado State and decided I wanted to go there!  Having the benefit of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program made it much more affordable and a reasonable choice overall.  CSU also has a wonderful engineering program with plenty of diversity to mix things up and keep a person from being too single-minded.  This was a huge draw to me, and I have loved every bit of it!

 

How does the Honors Program impact your workload and time as a student?

I have felt a lot of benefits by being in the Honors Program, one being the connections I first made my freshman year because I lived on an honors hall in the Aspen residence hall in Academic Village.  Our hallway had a great mix of people in all different major, and it was easy for me to find people to watch Disney musicals with at 3am on a Saturday!  By being in the Honors Program, the size of CSU shrunk as I gained more connections to other students.

The academic benefits of the Honors Program have also been wonderful!  The Honors Program is a great resource for getting out of those basic-level reading and writing classes and into fun, engaging seminars instead.  I felt that the honors professors gave a lot more respect to the students and allowed us to think outside of the box and discuss/consider things we had never thought of before!  I have taken seminars are western novels, globalization, the philosophy of freedom as portrayed through film, and much more!

In addition, the honors sections of my engineering classes gave me a more in-depth knowledge of the topics and challenged me in a way that normal-level classes would not have.  The work load is not something to be concerned with.  If anything, I felt like that honors program better prepared you to do your homework and was never something burdensome.

 

What are you involved with on campus at CSU?

Getting involved on campus is super important, especially while being an engineer because it allows you to take a break from all the intense math and science of school and do some fun things too!  I joined a sorority my freshman year with non-engineers because I wanted to find a group with a diverse background outside of the continual engineering discussions.  My sorority is the thing that gave me purpose outside of my classes by giving me a home-away-from-home and getting me involved in community service projects.  The awesome thing about sorority and fraternity life at CSU is that it does not follow the stereotypes whatsoever!  We are more of a Greek family as a whole than a bunch of individual groups against each other.  The Greek letters connect us to others on campus and again create a smaller campus by giving us more familiar faces to see while walking around!

I also got involved on campus by being a student ambassador for the College of Engineering.  Through this, I was able to make a lot of great friends with my coworkers, network with people in the working world, and give of myself as a guide and resource to potential and incoming students, just as Yoda was a guide to Luke Skywalker.  This job has given me purpose and another view of the world.

During my final semester, I started working at the Engineering Research Center, helping compile a technical report about the impacts of in-stream structures on river flow.  This has given me the opportunity to take a look at real-world issues and how solutions are being developed.  I got this job by taking the initiative to email one of my professors and ask if he knew of any openings in his research studies.  I was lucky enough to be just what was needed!

Also during my final semester, I joined Engineers Without Borders and spear-headed the fundraising event called Bands Without Borders.  I worked with other members in the club to plan and organize the benefit concert.  We collected donations from local businesses for raffle prizes, booked local bands to play at the event, and advertised for the event itself.  The event turned out to be a huge success, larger than any other year!  I enjoyed getting to know other people within the club and work towards the common goal of creating a raising money to improve the well-being of people in developing countries.

 

What kind of job opportunities have you had?

I have had two internships while at CSU.  The first one was the Bureau of Reclamation in my hometown of Carson City, Nevada and was during the summer after my freshman year at CSU.  This internship was unique in the way that there was not a set program; instead I was assigned to do tasks within each division for 3 weeks a piece, but anytime someone went on a field trip, they were directed to take me along too!  Because of this, I got to experience a bunch of different aspects of working in the Federal government.  I observed a lot of small town risk meetings, helped capture endangered butterfly species, and went on a lot of various site visits for everything from seepage issues to core sampling.

The second internship I had was during the summer after my fourth year at CSU.  This internship was with MWH Global in Sacramento, California and was in the water resources division. MWH Global is often hired by the Bureau of Reclamation, so it showed me the opposite side of the coin in the private sector versus public sector.  While working in Sacramento, I helped with projects in all stages of development from initial steps to final submission.  After about a month and a half in Sacramento, I was sent to a small town in Idaho to assist with a fish survey study on a superfund site.  This part of the internship required more physical engagement than mental, as I was hauling gear through bushes and trees and walking in stream beds of chilly water.  The final part of the internship was to spend two weeks in the Fort Collins office, again doing water resource projects, before school started.  This gave me a comparison between large office (Sacramento) and small office (Fort Collins) atmosphere.

Overall, both internship experiences gave me a lot of hands-on learning I would not have received in the classroom!  They also allowed me to interact with many diverse people and hear about their opinions, suggestions, and life stories.  All of this has led me to where I am now and given me a better idea of what I want to do in life and the type of company I want to work for.

 

Zach Kugler at Colorado State University


men with pupsIf I am not sure which engineering major I want to study, what are my options and how difficult is it to change concentrations?

The open option engineering program is the best option for the scenario in which a student is confident in their desire to study engineering but are not completely sure which engineering major would be the best fit for them—they will take an ‘open-option’ engineering class their first semester at CSU so that they are able to learn more about the different types of engineering with the goal of informing the student to then be able to confidently decide on an engineering curriculum that they will be dedicated to succeeding in. Even if the student is not completely sure that they want to do engineering, I strongly recommend that they do the open-option engineering program as well—this is because it is much more difficult to transfer into the engineering school at CSU once you have begun undergraduate studies in a non-engineering program. It is possible to do, but much more difficult than deciding to drop engineering for another major after getting a ‘taste test’ for the engineering curriculum over the course of a semester.

What kind of preparation for a career do you receive besides your degree?

Firstly, from the very first engineering course, students will be enrolled in a corresponding lab section to their engineering course. This is differentiating factor between CSU’s college of engineering and many others across the nation–students get this experience early on as a part of their curriculum and it has a huge a huge impact on helping students to get hands on experience in order to better understand many of the difficult topics taught in lectures. Secondly, the Engineering Student Success Center provides many resources for engineering students such as resume tune-ups, mock interviews, PLI credits, as well as networking events for students such as the semesterly engineering career fair which helps students get internships/co-ops and full time engineering positions. I have had three summer engineering internships so far and I am only a junior. I can confidently say that by the time I graduate, it will be easy for me to find a full time job with or without the help of the College of Engineering because of many of the networking skills I have developed and the job experiences I have had thus far.

What kind of interactions do you have with your peers as well as faculty?

Very often do I hear ‘horror’ stories of students at other engineering schools feeling that their program instils a competition-fueled environment where students have to constantly do anything in their power to come out on top of their peers—in extreme cases this even includes students sabotaging each other’s work. While being able to set yourself apart from your peers is important, this type of environment does not provide you will many skills that are absolutely necessary to be an effective engineer in the work force. The engineering program at CSU, to me, is embodied by an atmosphere of collaboration, applicable both to faculty and their research as well as to the undergraduate and graduate students in their studies! To me, this is very important because you not only have more abundant resources for success, but it teaches one to be a better team-player within academics and this skill will carry over to a profession in engineering where it is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to be a effective teammate! On an equally important note, the professors and student teachers, especially within the college of engineering, are always more than happy to meet with students about anything. Whether it is to get help in their class or to discuss research or projects that you or they are working on, the faculty is truly passionate about the success of students in every aspect of their lives.

What are you involved with outside of your engineering curriculum?

One of the biggest considerations in my choice of schools was the activities that I would be able to be involved with OUTSIDE of engineering—for me personally, I need to be able to have plenty of other things to do when I need a break from studying. While I am a part of IEEE and BMES (Electrical and Biomedical Engineering Societies are both professional societies), I truly find a lot of purpose outside of the classroom in leadership and personal development, which I have found plentiful at CSU, particularly in student government (ASCSU) and Greek Life. Among all of the involvement opportunities on campus, being a part of a fraternity has been one of the most life changing decisions I have ever made—I am an active member of Phi Kappa Theta at CSU which strives to develop men who passionately serve society, fraternity, and God. Along with that, I have been a part of a few club teams (swimming & triathlon) and have played intramural sports. While each of these things ultimately compound into having less ‘free’ time throughout my week, I have found that involvement in other groups and activities has allowed me to be successful in many areas of my life including engineering!

What made you choose CSU over CU & Mines?

Knowing that I wanted to stay in-state, I had three great choices for engineering schools in Colorado. The largest factor in my decision came down to CSU having a dual engineering degree program where I could study both electronic systems and the human body, two things I have been very passionate in learning about since a very young age. Only one other university has a dual degree program like this (currently). As alluded to in the other questions, CSU is a very large university (around 30K students) which allows for so many different opportunities for involvement, which for me has greatly enhanced my ‘college experience’. At the same time though, the College of Engineering is much smaller (around 2.5K students) which allows for a much more personal experience within your engineering curriculum allowing for better access to resources, your peers, and faculty. Tuition at CSU and living expenses in Fort Collins are much more affordable than CU and the atmosphere is very different from Boulder and Golden as well. Ultimately though, when it came to my decision, with all of these factors and opportunities taken into account, I saw myself being able to enjoy my time as an undergraduate at CSU. This is really important, especially if you choose to study a topic as difficult as engineering, as it will greatly increase your ability to be successful if you can enjoy the time you spend both in and out of your studies.

Ben Lorden at Colorado State University


unnamedWhat set CSU apart from your other schools of interest?

I chose CSU because I wanted to be a part of a diverse community. I wanted to go to a school where I would be challenged academically in my program, but also where I could interact with students who are studying for different majors. I love that I can go to seminars and symposiums on other topics beyond the breadth of engineering because that makes me more knowledgeable about the world in which I live. There is more to life than engineering alone, at least in my mind, and I am thankful to get the chance to learn about other things I am interested in while I delve into engineering.

What are your interactions with other peers and professors like in class?

Some of the classes in the engineering school are a bit large but that was something that was not too hard to get used to. It is awesome that every class that is offered in engineering is taught by a professor who is knowledgeable in their field and who wants to help us become the best engineers possible. One thing that I do to make the classes seem smaller is to sit in the first few rows of the class. This allows me to interact with the professor and have the professor know me. If a professor sees you putting in work, they will want to help you succeed. If they do not see you putting forth much effort, they will be less inclined to put effort into developing your understanding of the material. I have found that in the classes where I apply myself the most, the professors are great at helping me, even if it is outside of class on their own time. The professors I have had is one of my favorite things about the program!

What is your workload like as an engineering student?

Engineering is hard. There is no way around that fact. I have found that it is not so much a test of intelligence but one of work ethic. I have met a lot of people who were much more intelligent than I, but engineering was too hard for them because they did not want to put in the work that it takes to succeed as an engineering student. That being said, you can look below to find the other things that I have been able to be involved with around campus. I need to prioritize my time very well, but it is possible to do other things outside of your engineering curriculum. I have spent many weekend nights studying, doing homework, or working on projects, but I also do plenty of fun things. It is not overwhelming if you stay on top of things and make sure that you do something which will help relieve stress when necessary.

In what ways are you involved with the campus?

I have been able to be involved in many different things here on campus. My first year here I played Club Volleyball, which was a blast. It was less serious than high school sports but was still competitive and it was a fun way to stay active. Later on I became an Resident Assistant (RA) on campus, which has been a great opportunity to pour into people and have an impact on my community here. That takes up a lot of my time here, but I still find ways to stay active at the Rec Center or out on the beautiful running trails throughout Fort Collins. I also have found a great church near campus and have found a great community through that. Finally, I love working for the College of Engineering as a student ambassador. I enjoy the opportunity to assist people and to have the opportunity to talk about CSU, the campus, the community, and the engineering programs here.

As an RA, which housing options are most beneficial to freshmen in the engineering program?

As a Resident Assistant on campus, I work to make sure that the residents living on campus are comfortable, safe, and feeling at home within the residence halls. I have lived on campus for three years now, and I know that there are several places to live that would be great for engineering students. The first hall that I would recommend is the Engineering residence hall in Academic Village (AV). AV is one of the newest living spaces and the Engineering residence hall is a beautiful building with a great community. It is awesome to be able to live with people in the same classes so that you can study together, surround yourself with a driven group of students, and spend time with peers who share the same interests as you. Another building in the Academic Village complex is the Honors Building. This is a great place as well because everyone takes there studies seriously, but they are from many different backgrounds and studies and again, share many similar interests. This is a cool option because it makes your education multi-faceted and you can learn things about topics beyond the general scope of engineering through being a part of the honors program.

Currently I am an RA in Braiden Hall were every student is a part of a Key Community, which is another opportunity to find a group of students who are committed to learning together. There are several different Key Communities, including: Key Health, Key Academic, Key Explore, Key Service, and Key Plus. These communities have an emphasis on different things, but it is a great chance to be with people who have similar values and interests.

The other building that I have lived in during my time here at CSU is Laurel Village. This is the newest set of buildings and has a very similar feel to Academic Village. I would not say that there is a huge difference between the halls, but it was like staying at a really nice hotel every night! I would recommend Academic Village over Laurel Village because there are fewer resources for engineering students within Laurel Village, but it was still a great place to live!

Kalli Wegren at Colorado State University


swe

Why CSU?

I visited Colorado State University my junior year of high school. I have an aunt and uncle who lived in Thornton, CO at the time so I was interested in coming to Colorado for college. The biggest reason I came to CSU was because it was a very welcoming and friendly campus! Not only was it a beautiful school which had a lot to offer, but it also felt like a home. CSU also participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program so I was able to come on a reduced tuition rate. In addition, it has a great location for a college town. I love living in Fort Collins and close to Denver. There is always something to do whether it is going to Old Town, hiking around Horsetooth reservoir, or going to see a Rockies baseball game. CSU is a great place to come out-of-state because the campus is very supportive and welcoming and it just a fun place to be!

 

How does the Honors program cater to your interests?

The honors program has many benefits for students. Honor students are able to register for classes earlier, which is nice when you want to be in a specific section for a class. Also, many classes offer special honor sections that are only available to honor students. All AUCC (All-University Core Curriculum) credits are replaced with honors seminars that are very interesting and enriching. Also, special scholarships are available to honors students that are renewable each year. Lastly, participating in the honors program is great to put on resumes.

 

How difficult is it to change between engineering majors?

I was accepted to CSU as a biomedical and electrical engineer dual major. However, when I registered for classes at summer orientation, I realized I was unsure what type of engineering I was really interested in. I switched into the Engineering Science program, so I could take the “Open Option” engineering course to find out more about the different engineering disciplines. After my first semester and talking with my engineering professor, I decided I wanted to try electrical engineering. I realized I did not like electrical engineering as much as I thought it would. I decided to switch into civil engineering and it instantly clicked with me. I really enjoy my classes and I liked my civil engineering internship over the summer. It took me a while to figure out what engineering concentration I wanted to pursue, but it was worth finding my true passion. Talking to my professors, advisors, and CSU’s career center helped me to explore my options and find a concentration that was right for me. Changing majors was a smooth process, however, communicating with my advisors and professors was key in making it so.

 

What are you involved with at CSU?

CSU is a great campus to get involved in! So many opportunities have opened for me because I became involved and made connections. I first joined the Society of Women Engineers my freshman year.  Now, I am the publicity director for CSU’s section of SWE and a “Future Leader” for Region i of SWE. This year, I had the opportunity to go to SWE’s national conference in Nashville, TN.   Not only was it a lot of fun, but I also learned a lot. I am also involved in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and my sorority. ASCE is a professional society where I have made a lot of great networking connections. My sorority, Kappa Delta, is a social sorority and has been a home away from home for me. I have made life-long friends through CSU’s Greek life. In addition, I am also an engineering ambassador. I love talking to prospective students and giving tours of our great campus! Being involved has allowed me to make new friends and connections and it has opened a lot of leadership opportunities.

 

What is is like at CSU to be a woman in engineering?

Being a woman in engineering has been a great experience for me. At first, I do admit to being intimidated in some of my classes by the larger male population, however I have had nothing but a welcoming experience. I did join the Society of Women Engineers, which is a very supportive organization. I have also formed many great study groups with everyone in my classes. The college of engineering at CSU is welcoming and supportive of everyone.