Small School, Big Opportunities
“One reason I like UE so much is that they considered me as a whole. They didn’t focus solely on my test scores. They valued my GPA and all my participation in student organizations and volunteering from high school.”
Major: Electrical Engineering
Pursuing a Degree at a Small University
Nathan grew up in Scheller, Illinois, which is a small community that has a church, a restaurant, and a post office. His graduating high school class had 30 students. “Compared to this small village where I grew up, Evansville is a substantially bigger city.” Nathan felt that a small university would be the best fit for him as he values small class sizes and one-on-one interactions with faculty. “I knew I wanted to be on a small campus where I wouldn’t be just a number.” He was drawn to University of Evansville because of the natural beauty and warm inviting atmosphere of the campus itself as well as because he found the people he met at UE to be friendly and welcoming. “I had more one-on-one interactions with the admissions officers during my visits which really impressed me.”
Combining Math with Science for the Perfect Career Path
Nathan has always enjoyed math and science classes as they relate to problem solving and critical thinking. He believed that engineering would be the perfect career to combine the two skill sets. Originally he planned to become an aerospace engineer, however, after taking several courses and learning more about the various fields in engineering, he decided electrical engineering would be the perfect fit. “I really want to work with the electronics on airplanes instead, and I feel like electrical engineering allows me to pursue this dream when I graduate.” He has completed two internships with Continental Tire in Mount Vernon, Illinois, and he recently accepted a job offer at this company working as an electrical engineer. He will oversee electrical projects as well as troubleshoot problem equipment in the plant.
Close, Personal Advising to Accomplish His Goals
As the president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Nathan wanted to participate in the IEEE Senior Project under the advisement of assistant professor of engineering Mark Randall. Nathan greatly appreciates all the ways Randall has helped him throughout his college career. “He worked with me to make sure I could graduate in four years and still attend Harlaxton. Plus, he was always there when I needed help with classwork or my senior project.” Randall worked with Nathan for two semesters (over 700 hours) to build an autonomous robot that can complete four tasks. This robot has the ability to decode a message, input the decoded message into a rotary knob, perform in a light saber battle, and shoot nerf darts at a target. Nathan and his robot competed in the 2017 IEEE Robot Competition hosted in Charlotte, North Carolina, this spring.
Nathan really enjoyed working on this robot because he was involved in its creation every step of the way. “My friends at bigger schools are so jealous that I can work on projects by myself or in small groups. They only have the opportunity to complete a small part of a project alongside 30 other students. I was really drawn to UE because I wanted to be involved in every aspect of the project work and I really appreciate that I can learn from hands-on experience.” Starting freshman year, electrical engineering students are working on individual projects in the classroom. By senior year, the students have tremendous confidence in their ability to complete projects. They also have extensive experience with the technology and tools they will use in the real world.
Be Involved in High School
Nathan recommends that high school students looking at various universities should keep their options open. “Speak with the admissions officers and faculty members. Really get to know the campus and the people you will be working with for the next four years of your life.” He explains that students should be involved. “One reason I like UE so much is that they considered me as a whole. They didn’t focus solely on my test scores. They valued my GPA and all my participation in student organizations and volunteering from high school.”