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.

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!