Greetings! How are you? I hope you’re doing well! As I write this, it’s still Tuesday, April 29. So today as a member of the Catholic Church, I’m celebrating the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena. She was pretty awesome so I highly recommend checking out who she is, regardless of your religion. It’s really appropriate that I’m writing this post on her feast day because my favorite quote of all time by St. Catherine of Siena is: “If you are what you should be, you shall set the world on fire.” How awesome is that? So, this is appropriate because of the joy I found in today.

My joy of engineering is: passion.

Tonight, I participated in “Fred Talks” as part of of the Campus Honors Program, which was essentially TED talks for a smaller organization. It’s awesome to see how passionate people are whether it be a physics major talking about why organic foods aren’t all their cracked up to be or a programmer discussing the future of Bitcoins. Earlier that day, I sat in the CUBE office doing homework while one of our project teams met to finish their final presentation to their client. This team lost their project manager earlier this semester due to time conflicts, so this team currently works autonomously without a designated leader. It was great to see how much they cared about producing a quality final product for their client as a collective group.

CUBE Consulting

I need to admit it everyone. I feel extremely passionate about CUBE Consulting and engineering. Can you believe it? (I promise that was sarcasm!)

I love to see passion in other people and share my passions with others. I love to a person become animated, eyes gleaming with excitement, talking with fervent enthusiasm when their passion is mentioned. Sometimes my engineering classes are really freaking hard. Sometimes I have mountains of homework. Sometimes I just want to crawl into bed with a book and mug of tea at 5 pm instead of emailing people and studying. I think everyone has those moments. It is witnessing passion, this unbridled joy for a certain topic, which reminds me of why I work so hard. My fire is rekindled and I share my passion with others in hopes of helping them to continue finding motivation. Passions inspire. Thank you for sharing your passions, both with me and with others.

I’m back!

Yes, I promise. That’s my commitment to you. I apologize for the hiatus, but it’s been for good reasons. So, what’s happened since my last blog post? Here are the experiences I’m grateful for over the past 2 months:

  • I was knighted as a Knight of St. Patrick with friends, family and many amazing people from the College of Engineering. Iam honored and humbled by the entire experience.

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    My roommates (and best friends) and I at the Knights of St. Patrick ball after I was knighted.

  • I went on NFK (Newman Foundation Koinoinia) 121 as a team member where I helped participants return to God and grew deeper in my faith. It was beautiful!
  • I helped film physical chemistry lectures (check out Lecture 24!) to help as one my professor’s from last semester continues to develop and improve his flipped classroom learning style. It’s been an awesome learning experience for me.
  • I traveled to Minneapolis for spring break to job shadow at Cargill for the Cargill Global Scholars program. I learned so much from my mentor about how companies are improving the training of their engineers–I was introduced to a new type of engineering education! And afterwards, I traveled to visit my cousin (a PhD student at the University of Minnesota) and my aunt, uncle and cousin who live in Milwaukee.
  • I’ve been serving as 1 of 2 undergraduates on a Campus Conversation for Undergraduate Education working group pertaining to Integrative, Interdisciplinary and Experiential Education. We’ve been discussing how to improve undergraduate education by making general education requirements more meaningful, increasing the opportunities students of different majors work together, etc.
  • Finally, my pride and joy of the past 2 months: This past Friday, Karen Lamb and I finished our final draft of our paper International Experiential Education in Engineering: a Case Study of Junior Enterprise after 4 months of work and the challenge of writing a draft paper in less than 10 days. We will be published authors presenting this paper at the American Society of Engineering Education’s International Forum during their annual conference in Indianapolis this June. It’s a major opportunity to spread the Junior Enterprise concept throughout the US and I’m so excited!!

So, I think I have a reason for my hiatus. I apologize for committing to posting more blogs and failing at it though. And with that I bring you… (drumroll please!)

A new blog series!

The Joys of Engineering

Last semester, I was in a slump, constantly questioning my future vocation as an engineer. This semester, I’ve realized how blessed I am and how much engineering has taught me. I’m grateful for the challenges I’ve been given because they’ve helped me grow as a person and learn so much about the natural world. I love being on the forefront of technology, developing new scientific advances which will make the world a better place.

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Karen Lamb and I presenting our ASEE paper on Junior Enterprise at a poster session for chemical engineering. I learned so much about joy in engineering from researching the benefits of CUBE Consulting and Junior Enterprise.

With this change of heart, I have noticed a culture of negativity that pervades my education as an engineer: complaining about a professor, being upset over grades, depression over work and studies, etc. So many people tell me, “I just want to go work as an engineer.” One friend confessed to me that she has nervous breakdowns when she has drive from home back to school because being at the university is so stressful. As an empathetic person, I feel overwhelmed by desolation within engineering students.

I want to change this perception.

University is an amazing time for students to grow in all facets of their lives. Our time studying at university should not be spent wishing it were over already. We should enjoy every moment of this academic freedom where we have so many opportunities to learn about anything whether it be engineering, social sciences, history or even faith. College is a journey to the rest of our lives where we will be busy with a normal 9-to-5 work schedule, paying back student loans, creating a family, being members of our community, etc. I want to encourage you to make the most of this journey.

How?

I’m going to write a brief blog at least 3 times a week about the Joys of Engineering whether it be a new scientific development that’s awesome (ie: a possible cure to ALS), something exciting in my own life as an engineering student (ie: becoming a Knight of St. Patrick), or a spotlight on friends who are doing amazing things in engineering. I want to empower you, if you’re an engineering student or even if you’re not, to find joy within your own life every single day. I think that this will also help me to maintain my optimism so that I can try to be a light to others everyday. I believe that if you make the most of everyday God’s given you, you shall find happiness. Take the journey with me and we’ll travel this road of joy together! See you soon!

Credit to Shea Acott’s The Gratitude Project and 100 Happy Days for the inspiration for this blog series. Both movements have been beautiful. I’m so excited to see where this project takes me!

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