A Place with Different-Minded People
“When I arrived at UE, I discovered that the ‘not so important feeling’ wasn’t here.”
Class of 2011
Major: Civil Engineering
Current job: CHA Consulting Inc. - Engineer III in the Aviation Services Group.
You Feel Important Here
Jamin Heldt’s sisters had a big influence on his decision to come to UE. They were UE students as well and shared their experiences with him. He was also excited about studying to be an engineer in UE’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, which has a great reputation for high quality education.
UE’s size was also very appealing. Jamin toured other schools but felt that most of them were too big, and he was afraid he might feel like a little fish in a big pond. Some of the smaller universities he visited didn’t have the diversity of enrollment that UE did. UE presented the best combination of a small university with a broad enrollment. “When I arrived at UE, I discovered that the ‘not so important’ feeling wasn’t here.”
This school also exposed him to a variety of people. Jamin grew up in a small, rural midwestern town, but he was fortunate to be in class at UE with students from a variety of backgrounds. Socially, Jamin was friends with a wide range of individuals and is grateful to have had a diverse group of peers. According to him, this was one of the biggest values UE provided.
A Passion for Leadership
During his sophomore year, Jamin became heavily involved in different projects and teams outside of the classroom. The different leadership roles and experiences interacting with others were extremely valuable experiences. A couple of projects Jamin enjoyed working on as a student at UE were the ASCE Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge teams.
Developing Independence Abroad
Studying abroad in England at Harlaxton College was one of the most transformational experiences for Jamin. He didn’t have a lot of travel experience before traveling overseas, so this was a great chance for him to be on his own and get exposure to different cultures. “Having to figure stuff out by yourself and how to get from point A to point B teaches you a lot about responsibility when traveling in a foreign country,” he said.
Faculty Who Respect You
Mark Valenzuela, associate professor of mechanical and civil engineering, was a significant influence for Jamin. Valenzuela was the faculty advisor for the ASCE Concrete Canoe Team, and Jamin was the team’s project manager one year and also co-chaired in hosting the National Concrete Canoe Competition in 2011 at UE.
As a student, Jamin spent much of his time in the Koch Center for Engineering and Science. Valenzuela would drop whatever he was doing to help out with anything Jamin or another student needed. “Not just Dr. Mark, but all the civil engineering faculty are great at being personable and available to students while treating students like adults.”
Jamin currently serves as president of the local American Society of Civil Engineers branch. In the society, they host speakers, hold joint events with local universities, and coordinate project site visits. The society even cohosts an annual event at the Evansville Museum with activities for kids to spark interest for engineering.
More than Just a Degree
“You are going to college to get a higher education, which is the number one priority. The second priority is to not spend all of your time on classwork. Go get involved with something, whatever it may be. Join some type of club or group so you can interact with other students. UE has a lot more to offer than just your degree.”