Putting the “Colorado State” in CSU


My name is Zach Kugler and I am a senior engineering student at Colorado State and I am pursuing a double major in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. As the term goes, I consider myself a true ‘native’ to Colorado where a large majority of my family was raised and currently resides. I grew up in Evergreen, a smaller town up in the lower mountains (about an hour west of downtown Denver) and later attended Chatfield Senior High School in Littleton, a southwest suburb of metropolitan Denver. Growing up, I always loved learning more about the human body as well as technology, mechanical systems, and computers and electronics–I was fortunate enough to attend public schools with teachers that understood the importance of this and helped to foster my curiosity and learning in these areas. Besides CSU having an engineering program that would allow me to continue studying BOTH of my passions, the main reason I chose to be a CSU Ram is because it would allow me to stay at home in Colorado.

It would have been hard for me to not lose steam in my classes through 5 years of engineering school without taking time outside of classes to ski, hike, camp, and fish. However, at CSU I don’t have to choose between the things I love–I get to do all of them!

For most engineering students, classes are difficult, homework is consuming, and at times the load can be overwhelming–this was something that I knew would be difficult for me. Before and even through high school, I was a competitive swimmer and would often put up to five hours each day into the pool. This kept me busy and required a lot of self discipline to excel both in athletics and academics. I was wise enough to not pursue full-fledged competitive swimming during my college career, knowing that it would not allow me to do anything else besides practice and study. In my first semester, I found that I had more time than I knew what to do with and, being away from home, it would be important for me to productively fill that time.

Aside from joining student government, volunteer organizations, and later Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity, I was able to continue to do many of the activities that I grew up doing–they make Colorado home to me. One of my favorite things that I am able to do because I live in Fort Collins is to go up to camp in Pingree Park and swim in Siemens Reservoir. Of course this isn’t as local as Horsetooth Reservoir. Besides the quick hike up to Horsetooth Rock, the reservoir recreation options are a great way to get away from campus and just relax. My personal favorite is to bring my hammock up and take a nap above the reservoir; I am also the ENO rep at CSU so I hammock on campus a lot as well. I also enjoy fly fishing in some of the local rivers and big game and bird hunting in many other parts of the state.

Another big part ‘Colorado living’ is skiing and snowboarding. Over breaks from school and even on some weekends, I will head up to the mountains to shred the powder. Compared to other schools in Colorado, CSU is not necessarily as close to the major ski resorts, however the extra drive time is almost always worth it. I use skiing as an incentive to get ahead in my assignments so that I will not fall behind if I choose to go to the mountains for a weekend–my favorite resorts to go to are Winter Park/Mary Jane, Copper Mountain, Steamboat, and Telluride, just to name a few of the world-class resorts that the state is known for! While the traffic and masses sometimes test my patience, I would recommend to every fellow Ram to take some time to try out skiing or boarding (or both like me). It’s a lifetime sport if you take the time to learn it, and like many other people, it is my favorite thing to do in the winter and spring months in Colorado.

There were many different things about CSU that drew me to the school four years ago, including the world-class engineering programs, the opportunity for involvement, and the Fort Collins community. But one of the most important reasons behind my love for CSU is that I can have such a successful college experience (in and out of classes) while still enjoying all of what the state has to offer me. It would have been hard for me to not lose steam in my classes through 5 years of engineering school without taking time outside of classes to ski, hike, camp, and fish. However, at CSU I don’t have to choose between the things I love–I get to do all of them!

Greek Life and Engineering


CSU students choose to be involved with many different organizations on campus for many different reasons. In addition to engineering related clubs and organizations, some students become involved with on-campus fraternity or sorority organizations. April Rieger, is a current member and the previous president of the Chi Zeta chapter of Chi Omega at CSU and is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Spanish.

April (center) and some of her Chi Omega sisters

 

Why did you choose to join a sorority in the first place and were you worried that it might conflict with engineering and other school work?

When I was a freshman, I was worried that joining a sorority would interfere with my studies so I did not go through the recruitment process that year. By the end of freshman year however, I realized that I could handle my engineering school work and wanted to get involved in something outside of engineering. That lead me to my decision to rush in the fall semester of my sophomore year. I had friends at other schools who really enjoyed being a part of Greek life, and I wanted to get to know more people outside of my major. As I was going through recruitment, I was told over and over again that I could make greek life a small time commitment or a large one in my schedule, and that I would get out of it what I put into it. After being a member of Chi Omega for three years, I would echo this statement. I joined expecting to make it a small commitment still fearing it would conflict with my studies, however several different opportunities presented themselves and I became very involved. Even after becoming more involved, I was still able to stay on top of my school work and it gave me additional motivation to do well. In Chi Omega, high GPAs are rewarded and if my homework was done then I had time to participate in sisterhood events and socials. Joining a sorority, studying engineering, and working as an ambassador has definitely made me a very busy individual, but I still enjoy doing it all!

How has being in a sorority improved your professionalism and/or other skills you have learned?

Being apart of a sorority has allowed me to grow immensely as an individual. Throughout my three years of membership, I have gone through the recruitment process (on both sides), lived in a house full of 55 other women, served as Vice President, President, and attended our national convention. Serving as Vice President taught me how to approach individuals that are struggling academically and provide them with resources to be successful. Each individual has a different style and I helped each of my sisters with an individually tailored academic improvement plan to get them back on track. As president, I learned how to effectively communicate between a chapter full of women, an executive board, advisors, alumni members, and regional directors. I also learned various leadership skills, such as knowing when and how to delegate tasks and when to step in and help other executive members out with their responsibilities. I was also in charge of running several meetings per week and making sure all necessary topics were covered in those meeting agendas. Serving in these two roles also taught me a lot about effective teamwork as I got to serve as a member of the team while also as the leader. It was important to give my input but also to listen to others. I learned to trust my team, but also to expect that they would do their part. In my engineering studies, I have also had opportunities to work in a team, however we were doing design projects, not running a chapter of 200+ women! Both experiences have taught me a lot about working with others and have given me skills that I will use in the future. Being in these roles also allowed me to be a resource for women to come to for support or for conflict resolution. I got to know the women in my chapter a lot better and got leadership experience that I never expected to.

What advice would you give to a new engineering student and a new member of fraternity and sorority life at CSU?

To the new engineering student, I would say engineering is hard but that you can do it! I would also recommend to pick one thing to get involved with that first year. My freshman year I wasn’t involved in anything because I was too concerned with my studies. While your GPA is important, it is more important to be a well-rounded student with diverse and meaningful experiences (leadership, internships, service, etc.). I went from being involved in nothing to becoming involved in Greek life, working as an ambassador, volunteering for Ram Welcome, and joining Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Fraternity. To a new member in a fraternity or a sorority, the first year is can be strange, but stick with it because you will meet amazing individuals that will be some of your best friends and support for the rest of your life! It also makes the campus feel smaller and will help you to meet people outside of engineering.

Nate Deanda at Colorado State University


 

Why did you decide to go to CSU and study Civil Engineering?image1 (1)

I actually chose to go to CSU before I decided to study engineering. I wanted to go to a place that had a good community and was a nice distance from home, not too close but also not too far away. Being from Arvada, Colorado, I didn’t want to go to any of the colleges nearby in Denver, Golden, or Boulder so Fort Collins was just the right place. I was very impressed with the atmosphere surrounding Colorado State, and from the very first time I set foot on campus I felt like CSU was the right place for me.

The next step was choosing a major. I won’t lie–I was not one of those seniors in high school who knew exactly what they wanted to do.  In fact, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to study in college. I had an interest in architecture and buildings and I was pretty good at math and science, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to study engineering because I thought it would be way too hard. It wasn’t until I had a good conversation with my high school Physics teacher, who studied aerospace engineering at CU, that I decided I wanted to be an Engineer. He told me to go for it and if engineering was too hard I could always change my major. So after sending my application, I called the admissions office at CSU and told them that I would like to change my selected major from ‘Undecided’ to ‘Civil Engineering.’ I got into the Scott College of Engineering just fine and am now well on my way to becoming a civil engineer.

How difficulty are your courses in engineering?

School is very challenging as an engineering student. It’s not as hard as what I was expecting in high school, but my college major has pushed me to work to achieve my full potential. An engineering degree isn’t something many people can earn on their own; the difficulty of the classes has forced me out of my own personal “study bubble” and caused me to study in groups or with friends. For an engineering student, academic life and social life mix a lot. I have met some of my best friends at CSU through classes, becoming friends because we chose to spend so much time studying together. School is hard, but for me the academic challenge of engineering has helped me to realize my own strengths and have made me a better student for lifetime full of learning.

Do you meet many people outside of engineering at CSU?

Absolutely! One of the things I love about CSU is the fact that it is a large university with a lot of different types of people. The College of Engineering is a small college within a big university. There are so many ways to get involved on campus and meet all kinds of different people who are studying all sorts of majors. One of the former associate deans for the College of Engineering told me that “it’s important for engineers to meet real people” and CSU definitely provides you with an opportunity to do that. I have met a lot of aspiring engineers at CSU and also many others who want to be veterinarians, mathematicians, social workers, journalists, police officers, nurses, lawyers, farmers, businessmen, teachers, politicians, doctors, musicians, geologists, and many others!

What are you involved with on campus at CSU?

As a Ram, I have done many things to be involved and keep connected outside of academics. My freshman year I had a great experience playing the tuba in the CSU Marching Band. I have also been involved with a church group, FOCUS Bible studies, concert band, greek life, residence hall council, and student employment opportunities, such as my position as a Student Ambassador for the College of Engineering. The most fulfilling thing I have had the privilege to be involved with at CSU is my position as a Resident Assistant. Being an RA has been a great way for me to be a student leader and make a positive difference on the CSU community. I have also met some of my closest friends and made some of my favorite memories of college from being an RA.

What made you choose Civil Engineering over any other concentration of engineering?

Before I had decided on engineering, I wanted to be an architect; I’ve always been interested in buildings, bridges, and structures and I thought that architecture was the best way to pursue that. However, after looking into it, I found that I was not visually artistic enough to be an architect. I found that civil and structural engineers do a lot of the same work I was interested in but with more of a mathematics and physics approach to structural design and it is also easier to find work and secure a job as an engineer. Simply put, an architect draws out what to build and an engineer figures out how to build it.

After being in the major for almost two years now, I have become even more interested in what a civil engineer can do. It is one of the most broad fields of engineering and there are a many different things that a civil engineer can work with, such as structures, water systems and water quality, foundations, geotechnics, traffic, wind engineering, concrete design, and more. Initially, I was interested in structural engineering at the start of college, but after being in the major for a while, I have gained a newfound interest in geotechnical engineering and I would not be surprised if I end up doing geotechnical work as a professional engineer after graduating from CSU.

Megan Andrade at Colorado State University


Hello! My name is Megan Andrade and I am a sophomore at Colorado State University from , California. I am studying Chemical And Biological Engineering (CBE) here at CSU and I am one of the Student Ambassadors for The Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering. I am also a Resident Assistant here at CSU.

As an out-of-state student, what drew you to CSU for engineering?

When I was considering different universities  during my college search, I had two majors in mind: I was either going to major in veterinary sciences or engineering. CSU has a great program for both of these majors and once I had decided to stay with engineering I needed to determine which of the engineering disciplines I wanted to study–when I was researching the different reaches of engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering (known as CBE at CSU) was the one that caught my eye and seemed to be the one that I would most enjoy. CSU is the only school that I was interested in that offered a Chemical Engineering program that also had a heavy focus on biology as well, hence the name. I also chose CSU because of my campus tour experience– I loved the campus and Colorado and ultimately could see myself living at CSU.

What about CBE was so appealing to you starting the program at CSU?

CBE was interesting to me before beginning college because I liked all the different fields and jobs that the degree could offer me. I also loved the fact that it was chemistry focused with a large immersion in biology as these have always been my two favorite areas of the sciences. This degree program drew me in because I ultimately want to end up researching and developing synthetic organs, reducing the need for organ donors. Having been a part of the program now for two years, I can confidently say that this program will help to prepare me to do just that!

Looking back, what was your first year in engineering like? Was it what you had expected?

My first year in engineering went really well for me in every aspect, however it took a lot of work and a handful of long nights studying. The friends that I made stayed up late with me studying for tests and doing homework–to this day, these are some of my best friends because of that shared experience freshman year. I lived in Academic Village: Engineering my first year and it was the best experience that I could have possibly had as an incoming freshman to engineering. I liked being surrounded by like-minded people that had the same goals, interests, and classes as me. I expected to spend much of my time doing homework and studying, which I did, but it was a pleasant surprise that (with the right time management and study habits) it is very possible to have a social life and be involved with many other things outside of just engineering course work!

What are you involved with on campus?

I am a member of the Society for Women Engineers (SWE) as well as the committee for outreach and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AiCHE). These are engineering focused organizations, but I have found that they are very helpful for professional development and networking as they will often bring in industry members to talk with us about various aspects of the Chemical Engineering industry, current innovations, and even ethics as an engineer. It is also fun to take trips to different engineering employers and see the different facilities–my favorite so far has been our visit to Woodward’s complex in Fort Collins. I am also a Resident Assistant (RA)  on campus so I live in the dorms with incoming freshmen every year and help them to make the same transition to CSU that I experienced my freshman year: I am currently an RA in Corbett Hall.

From what you know about your upcoming CBE curriculum, what are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to taking Heat and Mass Transfer, which I will be taking my junior year and I am also excited for the Introduction to the Transport Phenomena that I will take my senior year. I have heard that these classes are challenging, but the content of the class intrigues me and that is a reward in itself. I am also looking forward to taking more of the courses that have lab sections which allow me to  get hands-on with many of the engineering concepts and fundamentals that I learn in class.

Fort Collins: Home for a Lifetime


Hi! My name is Ryan Baeverstad and I am a Junior at Colorado State University studying a dual-degree in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical & Biological Engineering. I’ve lived in Fort Collins my entire life and both my parents and siblings are Rams, so naturally I am a die-hard Rams fan and our family practically bleeds green and gold. I also love to ski and golf. While at CSU, I’ve been able to pursue my interests and develop myself, both academically and socially, through numerous opportunities that the university offers. Some of these things include joining a fraternity, becoming involved in professional engineering societies, and playing intramural sports. Overall, I have had an incredible time at CSU thus far and am glad to be here for another couple years!

Having grown up in Fort Collins and having a family full of Rams, how was CSU a part of your life prior to actually attending the university?

Growing up in a college town, specifically Fort Collins, was an awesome experience. Having the university right in town meant that there was always a game to go, there were tons of concerts in Old Town, and always some kind of excitement in the air. Not only was there a lot of excitement coming from the university, but there’s just so much to do in Fort Collins in general. My weekends were always different – between taking ski trips only 2 hours away to tubing down the Poudre River to having a low-key night at home, nothing ever felt dull growing up. That’s what made it impossible to leave Fort Collins. Granted, I love my family so that’s an added bonus to have them close, but by no means was that the deciding factor. When comparing Fort Collins and CSU to other college towns, I couldn’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else.

Discuss why you chose to stay in state, but also in Fort Collins. Elaborate on the appealing factors of CSU that helped you make this choice:

I always knew that I wanted to stay in-state. Being a huge skier, I wanted mountains. Further, I love that Colorado has distinctive seasons. You get an actual fall, winter, spring, and summer, all allowing you to take advantage of that time to do something unique that the state has to offer. Finally, my family did factor into my decision. I am very close to them and being able to go home when I wanted to is very important to me.

However, I did think picking my school in Colorado would be a tough decision–between CSU, CU, and Mines, there are three very good engineering schools to attend. Surprisingly however, it wasn’t a difficult decision at all for me. Colorado State ended up being the best choice because of how much that the university has so much to offer students. To begin, the dual-degree Biomedical Engineering program at CSU is unlike anything I have seen at any other university; this is probably the largest factor behind my decision. CSU also has over 400 different student organizations and clubs available to join. I also like that Colorado State is a fairly large university of around 30 thousand students. It’s fun to have a diverse student population where I am not surrounded by engineering all the time – it gives students the opportunity to be friends with a multitude of different people with different backgrounds and experiences. Finally, Fort Collins is almost always nice here, particularly the weather with 300+ days of sunshine each year.

A lot of high school seniors entering college worry a lot about the distance they have from home. What is unique about CSU is that while you are on campus, it feels like a whole other world. I don’t feel like I’m in my hometown – I am at college. Once you get here, it is very easy to create your own distance. You can choose to have no contact with home for the entire semester or you can choose to go home everyday. I wouldn’t suggest doing either of those, but you do have the freedom of choosing. For myself, I knew it was important, especially staying in my hometown, to branch out from my connections from my upbringing and really reach out for different opportunities. For some students, it is hard for them to break away from home enough so that they can be fully immersed in the college experience. In that situation, I would not recommend staying too close to home. However, if you are confident in your ability to dive head-first into everything college can offer, despite being close to home, Colorado State will be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Since starting at CSU, what aspects of your life have changed and what has stayed the same about Fort Collins for you.

Fort Collins will always be home to me and that will always be true for me. However, since starting at CSU, my appreciation for Fort Collins has become more apparent to me. The friends you make in college are friends you will have for a lifetime. The three most important things in my life are my family, my friends, and my faith. All three of these things I have found while in Fort Collins and at CSU. While I may end up somewhere else after graduation, Fort Collins will always be the place where my most important relationships were made. I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

Emily Strack at Colorado State University


April, Left--Emily, Right
Ambassadors April and Emily

Hi! My name is Emily Strack and I am a sophomore studying Computer Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. I am originally from Sacramento, CA and as much as I love it back home, Colorado State University has given me an unforgettable experience so far. When I first visited CSU as a Sophomore in High School, I fell in love. As I continued to explore other colleges, CSU became the clear choice.  I love electronics and being able to configure them in different ways to then be able to program them to do different things which is why I chose to study Computer Engineering.  I also love to hike, ski, and explore the outdoors, so luckily for me Colorado has enough places to keep me busy.

Looking back, what were some of your favorite things about growing up in California?

In my opinion, growing up in Sacramento was the perfect location. It was only a 2 hour drive to either Lake Tahoe or San Francisco. I love to ski and I love to go to the bay area so it was the perfect set-up. There are also a lot of great places to hike near Sacramento and one of my favorites places is up in Auburn. Auburn is home to Lake Clementine and there is a trail to where you can explore an old bridge or hike up to the dam. Besides Lake Clementine, there are a bunch of different hikes within reasonable distance from Sacramento. I also love to travel and fortunately so did my family. We would take trips at least twice a year to different parts of California (mainly Southern), but one of my favorites is Disney Land. I’ve been to the happiest place on earth at least 6 times (plus Disney World twice) and I am just as excited now as I was when I was a little girl to go. I grew up in a baseball family, so one of my favorite things growing up and when I go home is to go to a baseball game. Ideally my parents and I would make a trip down to LA to the wonderful Dodgers Stadium, but sometimes we have to settle for regular AT&T park (home of the San Francisco Giants). My family is also a fan of hockey, so we’ll make the occasional trip to LA to see the Kings play or watch the outdoor series at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. I loved growing up in California and I definitely would not trade that experience for anything, but I am so excited to see where CSU takes me and all of the great things I’ll get to experience in Colorado.

How did you learn about Colorado State University and what about the engineering program (ECE) attracted you to the school?

When I was looking at colleges, I knew I did not want to stay in California. I wanted my college experience to be different from what I had known growing up and for me that meant going out of state. I played competitive soccer in High School and I was fortunate enough to come out to Colorado for nationals. While I was here, my family and I visited CSU and I fell in love. The moment I stepped on campus, I felt comfortable, I felt at home. I was able to visit a few more times before I  had to make my decision in what college I would be attending and I fell in love more each time I came back. The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) program here was exactly what I was looking for. You’re in a lab your first semester here working hands on and applying what you’ve learned in the classroom to actual circuits. I also enjoyed the idea of having to do a sophomore project and a senior design project. I am currently doing my sophomore design project and I am loving being able to apply what I have learned so far into a real world project.

What kind of challenges have you faced in moving to Fort Collins and being an out-of-state student?

Coming to Colorado has been a huge change for me, but not once have I regretted my decision to come out to CSU. College is a big transition on its own no matter where you go, so coming from out-of-state definitely had its challenges. Living on my own, with parents approximately an hour drive and a two hour flight away, was my first challenge. I knew one person at CSU, so I was a little nervous to meet new people and make new friends, but luckily for me, CSU felt like my second home after the first week living in the dorms. Sure I got homesick, but I met some of my best friends my first semester here and I had them to fill in for my family back in California. Freshman year flew by, so it felt like I was seeing my family quite often and they would also come visit me about once a semester outside of breaks. The weather definitely got to me the first winter I spent here. I would ski back home in Tahoe, but I never lived in the snow. I made sure to come prepared when I moved out here; I was not going to freeze my first winter here. I had all the right clothing, shoes, etc, but it was still way colder than anything I had ever experienced. After the first few days of snowing, I grew to love it (besides brushing off my car the morning after). The first semester is going to be a rough transition no matter what, but coming from out-of-state can be more difficult just by being farther away from family and having to adjust to a whole new atmosphere.

As a sophomore, what have been some of your favorite experiences so far (in ECE, at CSU, in Colorado, Chi-O, etc.)?

My first semester sophomore year I was taking ECE 251 which is Intro to Microprocessors. One of our labs was to use a microprocessor connected to an LED screen and we had to make the screen display our ram logo. Many hours were spent hooking up ports and writing code for it, but once the project was done, I felt accomplished. It was awesome being able to see that ram logo finally pop up on the screen and to know that I did that. It fascinates me that you can build a circuit and then be able to program it to do different things and that’s part of the reason why I love ECE so much. I joined Greek Life my first semester at CSU and it has been one of the best decisions I have made in college. I’ve met some awesome women both in my chapter as well as others and one of my favorite things that we do is our philanthropy event. My chapter, Chi Omega, works with the Make-A-Wish foundation and my spring semester freshman year we had our Wings for Wishes philanthropy event. Our wish child and his family was able to attend the event and when we had the wing eating contest, the little boy’s face just lit up. Seeing him smile and just how happy he was in that moment, made me realize how important my chapter was for me and that just making a difference in one kid’s life is worth every minute of the work and effort we put into that event. My favorite experience in Colorado was skiing in Vail this past winter break. It was my first time skiing in Colorado and man what a difference! I got to spend three days with my best friends in one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to so far in Colorado. I also enjoyed doing a sunrise hike up to Horsetooth with some of those same people my freshman year. There are a ton of places to explore in Colorado and I can’t wait to see what I’ll get to do next.

Looking forward, what are some things you are excited to one day experience in Colorado and at CSU?

Colorado State has this list of  70 things to do before you graduate. Some of them I have already completed, but I am looking forward to finishing out the list within the next two years. A few of the things I have yet to do that are on the top of my list are hike to the A, take a picture with CAM the Ram, and explore out Mountain Campus. I’m also looking forward to meeting more people. Each year I have met some amazing people who I know will be in my life hopefully til the end, so I look forward to making more of those friendships and meeting all different types of people here at CSU. Colorado is still new to me; I am still learning about all of the beautiful places it has to offer and I am excited to adventure to them during my time here. One of my goals is to go to most, if not all, of the ski parks during my time here.  I have a goal for this summer to hike at least three 14’ers and maybe even more. Both CSU and Colorado have so much to offer and I can’t wait to be able to explore them more.

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.