My name is Zach Kugler and I am a fifth-year senior at Colorado State University studying a double major in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. After just one semester of school at CSU, I knew that I made the right choice to study engineering as a Ram! Every day, I get to use all of the resources and services that CSU provides for students and I get to be a part of the various programs that better prepare me for future successes as a professional engineer–so far, all of my expectations for CSU have far been exceeded. I am so excited to be one of a small number of students studying both Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, and thanks to CSU, I know that I will be very well prepared for the ever-changing future with the combination of both of these degrees!
Being a Colorado native (I’m from Evergreen & Littleton), I’ve always had a love for skiing & snowboarding, camping, hiking, hunting & fishing, and many other activities that our beautiful state offers. When it came time for me to decide on a university to study engineering, these activities were all things that I wanted to be able to continue to do throughout the school. The location of CSU is perfect to do many of these things without having to travel too far from campus. Whether it is hanging out at Horsetooth Reservoir on a hot day, or going to hike Long’s Peak (my favorite of Colorado’s many 14’ers), there is always an abundance of outdoor activities, both on and off campus, to partake in.
While a double major in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering may not be the most popular of studies, technology is at the point now where it has caught up with our knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. This is allowing for the overlap of electronic components and the human body to create amazing new medical innovations. Both the human body and electronic devices are things that I have been passionate about since a young age, and CSU’s program allows me to study both in a meaningful way and the topics crossover both inside and outside of the classroom makes it such an exciting thing to be a part of. Engineering is difficult, so I spend a lot of time studying, working, and having classes in the brand new Scott Bioengineering building, which has a lot of new engineering research labs. As a freshman, I was given the opportunity to design a product for my Biomedical Engineering class and my group redesigned the modern prescription pill bottle to accommodate for the elderly and those with disabilities which hinder them from having the ability to open these bottles. We used the CSU Idea2Product 3D printing lab, one of many resources for CSU engineering students, to create our physical working prototype. Now, I am working on my senior capstone engineering project of designing and building a smart hypoxia chamber to use for biomedical research. Having experience using all of those resources has prepared me well for senior design and I look forward to having such an awesome project to show for my hard work and well-earned degree by the end of the spring.
CSU offers a large selection of extracurricular programs and activities that contribute to the diverse nature of the school’s student body. I have been a member of ASCSU (student leadership & government program), the CSU Club Swim Team, Special Needs Swimming (community volunteering outreach), and I am the Vice President of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity. Having been a competitive swimmer for 10 years prior to college, I have found CSU’s intramural and club sports are great ways to take a break from studying, get exercise, meet new people, and stay involved with team sports. We also have one of the top 5 Rec Centers in the nation! Between CSUnity, Ram Ride, Fall Clean-Up, and other programs offered by SLICE (student leadership), there are tons of great volunteering opportunities which bring CSU and the Fort Collins community closer together. Greek Life at CSU is also an amazing way to build life-long relationships, network professionally, and get involved with the school, local, and national communities. I am a member of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and BMES (Biomedical Engineering Society); both of these are great networking opportunities and really enhance curriculum through outside activities for students to participate in such as design competitions and industry site visits.
Having had the privilege to live in AV Engineering my freshman year (I am off campus in a house this year), I am a big proponent of on-campus living in an environment where other engineers, all who have the same or similar curriculum, schedules, and interests, can study, spend time together, and get to know each other through the common living space. Living in a residence hall setting where students put studying as a high priority helped me to become more efficient with my time by learning new study habits and teamwork skills. This alone is so important to student’s transition from high school to collegiate engineering curriculum, but Academic Village is also a premier living experience for students.
So far, I have held five different engineering internships; the first at Oldcastle Precast (the largest precast concrete company in the world) right out of my senior year of high school (I am a graduate of Chatfield Senior High School in Littleton — GO Chargers!) where I learned far more about concrete structure design and production than I ever knew was possible. The second was at Grass Valley—A Belden Brand after my freshman year at CSU. At Grass Valley, I tested iTX systems which automate television program play-out and signal routing for companies like FOX, AT&T, and Xfinity in order to find software, UI, and framework bugs. My third, fourth and fifth internships have been in various positions at Johnson Controls, Inc. which involved a lot of field work where I would install, program, and commission HVAC systems in large buildings (a lot of them being public schools in the metro Denver area). This past year, I actually served as an application engineer and project manager which allowed me to engineer entire projects from the very beginning while also getting to oversee their progression in the field. These have all been amazing opportunities for me to get work experience over the summer and have not only helped to further my engineering knowledge through learning different skills and understanding different applications, but have also helped guide me towards the type of engineering career that I want after I graduate. The Engineering Success Center in the Scott Bioengineering building played a big role in helping me get these opportunities by hosting PLI (Professional Learning Institute) sessions, the engineering career fair each semester, and many other events throughout the year.
In my first year alone, I learned so much in my courses, became more involved in leadership activities, met many different people, and had great job opportunities, but I am even more amazed to say that even after four whole years, there are still so many great things about CSU that I have yet to be a part of and are just waiting for me to discover. I have been so impressed with the experiences that I have had so far as a CSU Ram and I’m very excited for what is in store for my future at and beyond CSU!
Ask Me About:
- Biomedical & Electrical Engineering
- The engineering residence halls & off-campus life
- Leadership development
- Greek Life
- Snowboarding, Skiing, Hiking, and other outdoor activities
- Swimming, Water Polo, and other athletics at CSU
- Patenting Inventions
- My Home State of Colorado
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