Meet the ePALs
Mechanical Engineering (minor: mechatronics)
I absolutely love MSU for its wide variety of opportunities, from engaging in research to engineering, languages, and art. Through these, I've had the chance to work with so many different types of people and majors. It has allowed me to keep a lot of my hobbies while still having the time and support to be successful in engineering. I've really loved my Mandarin and band classes because they force me to take a break from studying engineering! This last semester I started to have trouble with a couple of my harder classes, but the Engineering Help Center really helped with understanding a lot more of the theory while also acting as a meeting place so classmates could work together and discuss.
I've been lucky enough to get involved with a bunch of great organizations. I'm in the Honors College and the Spirit Of The West Marching Band & Pep Band, and I help with the Society of Women in Engineers MSU Fundraising Committee and the MSU Chinese Culture Club. I'm also helping with research in our great snow lab.
I'm usually at the park with a good book! But other than that I can be found hiking, biking, baking, painting, or drawing. Because I'm in the marching band I also get the chance to go to all of the home football games, which I'd encourage everyone to go to because they're so much fun!
Chemical and Biological Engineering, Junior
My involvement with the College of Engineering activities really started when I joined the Engineers Without Borders club my freshman year. I traveled to Kenya the summer after my freshman year (2015) to help put in a well and was the Water Committee Chairperson for the 2015-1016 school year. During the 2015-2016 school year I also joined Society of Women Engineers and the Women in Engineering Advisory Board. I will be traveling to the Society of Women Engineers National conference in Philadelphia in the Fall of 2016. I really attribute my success in engineering so far to surrounding myself with engineering peers in each of these clubs. As a younger student it helped to see how already-successful engineering students that were juniors and seniors did so well. By being an ePal I hope I can help do this for future underclassman like so many other students helped me.
I started working at the Center for Biofilm Engineering in the Environmental lab as a research assistant for Neerja Zambare and worked under Dr. Ellen Lauchnor. This research was investigating different remediation methods of mine and coal producing operations. I'll continue this work in Fall 2016. Working in a lab really helped me apply concepts that I was learning in the classroom to actual engineering practices; especially when I was sitting in class wondering why a professor is going through a 20 minute derivation of an equation. In the summer of 2016 I became a Quality Control intern with Basic American Foods in Shelley, ID.
When I'm feeling lazy I like to sit and watch movies (mostly disney!). When I'm feeling adventurous I like to explore the beautiful area around Bozeman by either hiking, snowboarding, or camping. I also like to do yoga when school stresses me out.
Industrial and Management Systems Engineering
I started at MSU as an Honors student and Electrical Engineering major, but quickly realized that my passions, talents, and future interests truly lie in Industrial Engineering. I enjoy thinking in terms of large scale systems and appreciate my major’s combination of human and scientific elements. Since switching majors my freshmen year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my major and have become involved in several engineering and STEM related organizations on campus. In particular, I’ve enjoyed working as an Industrial Engineering summer intern with SSEL and as the Assistant Manager for Montana Space Grant Consortium’s Space Public Outreach Team where I organize and give presentations to Montana K-12 students about recent NASA missions and Montana college opportunities. This academic year, I look forward to being the secretary for Alpha Pi Mu, the IE honors society on campus, a member of the Women In Engineering Board, and an active ePAL. I plan to graduate with degrees in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering from COE and Liberal Studies from the Honors College and am considering an Aerospace minor or the Industrial Engineering seamless master’s program. After college, I plan to have a career in Engineering Management at an Aerospace Engineering Company.
When I feel like relaxing, I enjoy watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with friends. When I’m feeling creative, I like to sing and write my own stories, poems, and songs. When I’m feeling active, I enjoy hiking and going to group fit classes at the gym.
Mechanical Engineering (minor: Aerospace Engineering), Modern Languages and Literatures: German Studies (minor: French and Francophone Studies)
Influenced by my older brother, an engineering alumnus from MSU, I followed the path he laid out for me with little deviation. That is, until my second year during which I studied in Berlin, Germany. Returning to MSU, I delved into leadership roles within my fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and pursued the academic regime with a vigor my brother never foresaw. Continuing through the ME curriculum, I found an extreme interest in fluid mechanics and have since pursued courses in the field including Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Transport Analysis. Along the way, I have been fortunate to work with faculty as a teaching assistant for several courses, including the initial MATLAB course and the joint undergraduate/graduate CFD course last semester. Bounding forward, in the Modern Language Department, I was able to continue a role in teaching as I traveled to the Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco this last summer. This is my sixth year here, and I am looking forward to providing any multidisciplinary advice I can!
As alluded to above, a strong passion of mine is learning foreign languages and traveling around the world in the hopes of gaining unique experiences that I can utilize in my career. Because of this, I spent an entire year in Germany, several months in France, and was a part of a summer teaching program in Morocco. Additionally, I’m an avid runner with six marathons under my belt thus far: my next goal is a 50 miler here in Montana south of Glacier Park, either this year or next. In combination with my STEM background and interest, I am also independently learning about the biochemistry and processes behind brewing and distilling as I brew in the rest of my free time.
Civil Engineering, Bio-resources option, minor: Hispanic studies
I came to MSU for the amazing College of Engineering after I decided that I wanted to pursue an education in Engineering because of my love for math and science. Choosing Civil Engineering was a little bit of a stab in the dark but I am enjoying the environmental aspect of my Bio-Resource option. As an Engineering student, I have gotten involved in Engineers without Borders and research in the Center for Biofilm Engineering as well as the hydrology lab in the Civil Engineering department. I am a member of the Women in Engineering advisory board, a Civil Engineering peer adviser, was Vice President of the Spanish club, am a Zumba instructor, am involved in the campus ministry, CRU, and am in the Honors College.
I studied abroad in Peru last summer designing and building a portable water filter with other Engineering students and that has definitely been a highlight of my time at MSU! I've had a very busy time here at MSU so far and I am thankful for all of the opportunities there are to get involved.
When I'm not studying I will either be exercising or playing sports in the campus fitness center or out in the beautiful mountains and rivers surrounding Bozeman. I love to be outdoors, exploring, hiking, skiing, biking, and spending time with friends as well as meeting new people!
Financial Engineering, Engineering Management (minor), Senior
I started my freshman year of college as a chemical engineering student because of my love of chemistry. I worked in the lab for the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at MSU, helping a PhD candidate with research on aerobic and anaerobic thiosulfate oxidation by subglacial chemoautotrophs. Although I enjoyed working in the lab, I decided to switch gears after joining Engineers Without Borders. After traveling to Kenya in the summer of 2015, I became fascinated with economics and how to help the world in different ways through engineering. It was then that I began the new curriculum of Financial Engineering.
After switching my major after three years, I could not be happier! I failed many times when studying chemical engineering, but that is not why I switched majors. I learned not to be afraid of failure and not to be afraid of changing paths to what I am truly passionate about.
I am a huge proponent of skiing and probably am not studying as much as I should be between the months of January and April! During the other months I love watching sports, fly fishing, sailing and hiking.
Civil Engineering, Junior
I started as a general engineering student that leaned toward industrial engineering. As I took a few more classes I realized that civil engineering is where I needed to be. I’ve changed my major a few times and I know what it’s like to start in general engineering and find a path. I’ve struggled through classes and learned that sometimes you just have to be the nerd that sits in the front of class writing everything down. I’ve gotten involved with the First Robotics Competition as a volunteer and look forward to getting involved with on-campus research within the next year.
Usually if you can’t find me, I’m at the library… I do study a LOT, but free time still manages to come about. I love hiking and finding new places to explore. I enjoy playing intramural basketball, biking, cooking, and painting. I’m trying to get into skiing because “when in Bozeman,” but, due to my low level of coordination, it might take a while.
I started at MSU by changing my major twice before classes even had begun. After finally landing on Electrical Engineering, I can say I’m happy with my decision. Although I have definitely had my share of academic struggles while here, I have learned to use the many resources available to make myself successful. I think that although the coursework can be strenuous at times, and I have definitely been known to get a bit frustrated, help is always available if you only ask for it. The most important thing that I have learned here at MSU is to not be afraid to get help if you’re not understanding something and to do so at the first signs of trouble. In my experience, the professors and TA’s always seem happy to take the extra time to aid in the greater understanding of material.
My experience here has been very positive outside of the classroom as well. I work at the bakery on campus and have gotten to know many great people there. I have always loved baking so this really is the perfect job for me even if it has nothing to do with my major. I was also a member of hall council for my residence hall during my freshman year. This activity helped me gain experience working with people of differing opinions. I think this helped prepare me for future collaborative endeavors.
When I am not studying or working, I enjoy baking cookies and other treats as well as playing a lot of board games with my friends. You can often find us at the local board game shop, Rook’s. I also have been known to play some DnD. In addition I am quite the bowling enthusiast and will go play a frame any time I can find a partner. I usually try to take an activity class every semester to try out all the fun activities MSU has to offer.
My time here at MSU has been great and rewarding. While working and going to school full time at the same time sounds a little challenging, the Engineering program does a great job getting students involved in projects and clubs. Because of the opportunities this program gives you, I am currently working for Montana Space Grant Consortium in their high altitude ballooning team to get ready for a nationwide project to stream live the solar eclipse on August 21st. This experience is going to be a once in a lifetime thing and I am really excited about it
One of the challenges coming to MSU was to adapt to a new culture, food, customs, and weather (winter). Coming from a different country and growing in a place where the temperature doesn't drop below 30, it was a real challenge to adapt. In the process of adapting to a new lifestyle, I have had great experiences, met great people, made new friends and advance in my professional career at the same time.
When I'm not studying you can find me in the mountains in a morning hike or playing soccer with friends, sometimes playing video games or just working on my individual projects at home. In the winter, I might be out in a hike or just at home working on my computer. I am still trying to learn how to snowboard, so hopefully I will be spending some time in Bridger Bowl this coming winter.
I didn't think about majoring in engineering until my senior year of high school, and even then didn't seriously consider it until I came to tour MSU that spring. That was when I had the opportunity to sit down with a chemical engineering professor and really talk about what a chemical engineer is, and I realized it encompassed everything that I was interested in. Initially I was nervous that I would end up uninterested once I actually began my degree, but I quickly found that I really enjoyed my classes, professors, and peers.
I've also had the opportunity to work in the environmental engineering lab on campus since my freshman year, which has been a defining experience in my college career. I've worked on projects involved with treatment wetlands, and it's been both a very fun and educational experience. At first doing research sounded intimidating, but my mentor and the grad students working with me all helped at every step along the way, and I've found something that I really love to do.
Bozeman has endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, and I love to ski, hike, and backpack. I also like having in depth conversations about Gilmore Girls with my roommates, watching the ducks hang out at the duck pond, and playing piano.
Mechanical Engineering, Junior
I came to MSU excited for an adventure. I participated in quite a few clubs and tried out classes in different majors. After my first semester I focused in on the activities that I truly enjoy and tried to spend my time with fun people who push me to be better than I was before. Schoolwork and studying are important, but I believe they will only get you so far. During college I have learned that it is almost impossible to succeed on my own and it is way more fun with friends and supportive professors. College is not just about academics. The relationships you build and the passions you develop are just as critical to a successful college experience.
When I am not studying I am usually hanging out with friends, playing games, or checking out Montana’s beautiful mountains.
Fort Collins, Colorado
My experience at MSU has been amazing so far. I've met so many amazing people and have learned so much in my studies here.
When I'm not studying I enjoy pretty much any sport or outdoor activity, playing guitar, reading, and I'm always interested in trying new things.
Physics and Music, Junior
How would you describe your experience at MSU: It's been great so far. Since I'm from Bozeman, I kind of took MSU for granted during high school, but I'm really glad I've come here. I've had so many opportunities in my field that I almost certainly could not have had at another university, in particular the opportunity to be involved with the BOREALIS high altitude balloon team, working to send a balloon up to livestream video and still images of the moon's shadow during the August 21 total solar eclipse.
What do you do when you're not studying: Does practicing cello count? Probably not, I'm a music major too so that counts as studying. In my spare time, when I'm not practicing, I run a game of Dungeons and Dragons with a few of my friends. I also love to write, draw, and ride my bike.
Coming to Montana State has been an eye-opening experience for me. I originally came to play football for the Bobcats but after I stopped playing I decided to stay at MSU because of how cool the city of Bozeman is and all the awesome friends I made in a short amount of time.
I pledged Sigma Chi my freshman year and it was one of the best decisions I've made in college besides choosing CS as a major. Being apart of Greek Life has exposed me to so many great opportunities for leadership and networking and even greater life long friends.
In my free time, I like to volunteer when possible. Last year I got to be a volunteer instructor for groups of middle school and high school girls making apps for their own social enterprise and it was the most fun I've ever had in a classroom. I also like to breakdance, play intramural sports and go bowling with friends but my favorite activity is karaoke on Thursday nights.
Mechanical Engineering, aerospace minor
Great Falls, Montana
I came to MSU knowing I wanted to study engineering, I just couldn't decide what kind of engineering interested me the most. To get a feel for each branch of engineering, I decided to start off as a General Engineering student, which included taking the General Engineering class. This was the best choice I ever could have made, because it allowed me to look at each type of engineering and they types of things that each type specializes in. I quickly learned that I did not want to be an Electrical Engineer, but both civil and mechanical intrigued me. I decided to take a look at civil engineering, but after a semester I realized I did not enjoy it as much as I though I was going to. So during my second semester, I officially changed my major to Mechanical Engineering, and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am getting to study and learn things that interest me, and my Aerospace minor is allowing me to study an area of engineering that I am greatly interested in.
Another thing that has made my experience at MSU so great has been working in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering office. Everyone that works there is great, and they are all so willing to help. It has also allowed me to get to know all of the professors in the department. It has really allowed me to make connections that I otherwise may not have made. I have also had some amazing experiences being a part of several clubs and organizations around campus. I have been involved with Women in Engineering (WIE), and just recently became a member of the WIE Student Advisory Board. I have also been involved with Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the MSU Volleyball Club, MSU Intramurals, and was just selected to be a Sophomore Surge Mentor.
I have also had the opportunity to intern with a local machining and manufacturing shop called Autopilot. Being an intern for them has allowed me to gain valuable experience in industry, and really put what I am learning in the classroom to the test. It has also encouraged me to look into getting a dual degree in both Mechanical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Technology. So far, my experiences at MSU have been amazing, and I look forward to seeing what other opportunities I have in the future.
When I am not studying, there are lots of things you can find me doing. I really enjoy hanging out with my friends and roommates, and when I get the chance, I love sneaking back home to Great Falls to see my family, friends, and pets. If it is during the school week, you can sometimes find me in the M&IE office working, or if I don't have too much homework to do, which is hardly ever, I'm probably tucked in a booth in the SUB watching Netflix on my computer. On the weekends, I try to keep my Saturdays open to do non-school related things. I enjoy hiking, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, and exploring all that Bozeman has to offer, including all of the amazing restaurants. I love food, so this one is a major plus for me! Although most of my time during the school year is spent studying, I make sure to fit in some of these activities each week to keep the semester more fun.
Boulder City, Nevada
After growing up on a sailboat as a homeschooled nomad of the world, my experience at MSU has been largely one of adaption. As a jack-of-all trades so to speak, I had a relatively difficult time picking a major. I knew (at least on most days), that I wanted to be in a STEM field, and since I grew up seeing my dad as an engineer, I figured that would be a good way to go. I initially chose MSU for its computer engineering program, but had a change of heart (three actually) before classes started. After bouncing to mechanical engineering, then physics, I finally settled back at mechanical engineering just in time to register for my freshman classes.
Thankfully, I found mechanical engineering was something I excelled at. The last two summers I interned at Los Alamos National Lab and Montana Instruments respectively, and got to see different types of work my field could lead to. This emboldened my decision to be a mechanical engineer.
Not… studying? That’s a phrase I haven’t heard in a very long time…. In the brief moments engineering does let me have to myself, I’m usually at work (lately that’s been designing kitchens), working on my car, or out for a hike. When the inspiration strikes I’ve also been known to write a short story or two, or to learn a new piece on the piano. My roommates and I are all fairly musically inclined, so we started a band called Unchanged Characters where I usually play piano/keyboard/guitar, but with two of us being engineering majors, we’ve had a hard time finding the time to write the number one hit that’ll let us drop out of college and become rockstars.
Mechanical Engineering Technology
I always tell people that moving to Montana was the best decision I've made yet. My experience at MSU has helped shape me into the person I am now. I've learned the value of relationships and how having strong relationships can make the good times better and the hard times easier. You don't stand alone when you're in college although it might feel that way sometimes. I started out in college as a shy student who wasn't very involved within the university. Currently I'm the vice president of the RoboCats Club on campus, I work as a TA in the machine shop, and I'm proud to say I'm a mentor to freshman and sophomore engineering students.
When I'm not studying, I enjoy hanging out with my friend group from Great Falls. I also enjoy going to live music events, playing soccer on the weekends, and playing disc golf at Rose Park. One of the main reason I came to Bozeman was to enjoy the outdoors so if I have any excuse to get outside, I'll take it.
Amazing so far. I've had so many opportunities (including being an ePAL!) that have fueled my excitement for Computer Science and my drive to succeed. I started my college career in Chemical Engineering, and enjoyed the classes, but quickly learned it wasn't what I wanted to do with my life-- luckily, I discovered that I really enjoyed programming which led me to change my major to Computer Science. My sophomore year I was fortunate to be a Resident Advisor, and got involved in both Association for Women in Computing as well as the Association for Computing Machinery, MSU's two CS-specific clubs. This fall, I'm going to be an Undergraduate TA for a CS course, attend the Grace Hopper Women in Computing conference, be the Vice President for AWC and hopefully get involved with research. I'm excited to get even more involved in the College of Engineering and the Computer Science department, to support and enhance both mine and other student's experiences.
Though I spend a lot of time studying, I do my best to spend some time hiking in the summer and skiing during the winter. I fell in love with bouldering this past year and try to do that at least 3 days a week at the MSU gym, as well as try (and fail) to force myself to like running. Otherwise, you can find me playing Settlers of Catan or watching netflix with my friends.
Civil Engineering, Senior
While at MSU, I have come to love Bozeman and all it has in store. From spending weekends backpacking in the Crazies, shredding at Bridger, to cranking out long hours in the library, it has been a ride of a lifetime, and I’m really looking forward to my final undergrad year, hoping it will be the best one yet. I’ve made some lifelong friends in engineering, Ultimate Frisbee, residence hall association, and student ministry groups.
In addition to getting plugged in on campus, I’ve also had the pleasure of being involved in some research in Land Resources and Ecology my freshman year, and, for the past two years, I have been pursuing my own undergraduate research project looking at the hydrologic benefits of green roof technology. (My next research is to acquire enough pixie dust to fly to Neverland and escape the adult world, so if you have any leads on Tinker Bell, please drop me a line.)
Outside of school, I’ve also had internships under both a general contractor and a Civil Engineering consultant focusing in Land Development. Both have been great experiences, and I’ve met a lot of fantastic mentors in the industry as well as several mentors at MSU. Studying Civil Engineering in Bozeman has been one of my favorite experiences. I really look forward to supporting some new students as they balance an active life outside of the classroom with being successful in school and achieving a quality education. Cheers! I look forward to meeting you!
spontaneous dance parties, Ultimate Frisbee, soaking up the sun, trying to climb rocks, skiing yellow snow, riding my bicycle, and cooking yummy food.
Mechanical Engineering Technology
Three Forks, Montana
I came to MSU set on studying Mechanical Engineering; however, after sophomore year I realized that I wanted a more hands on learning experience and future career. So I made the decision to change to MET. I also want to interact with people throughout the day, so I decided to throw an Engineering Management Minor in the mix too.
I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy—a sleep disorder—going into my junior year of high school. Since, coming to college I have found both my professors and the Office of Disability, Re-Entry and Veteran Services to be extremely understanding and helpful. If you have any questions about going to school with a disability, I would love to answer them.
This summer I had an internship with Montana Instruments, a company here in Bozeman. In addition to the many technical skills I developed, I learned so much about what it means to have and to create a great company culture.
When I’m not studying you can catch me running in circles for the MSU Track Team. Or hanging out with friends (the more, the merrier). I also love anything outside—hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing, canoeing—and playing any sport. #churchleaguesoftball
Great Falls, Montana
My experience at MSU has been great! Entering as a freshman I had no idea what I wanted to study. I bounced around between different subjects for two semesters before finding my interest in Computer Science. Since then, I've tried to make the most out of my undergraduate experience in the COE. I currently work at the Montana Microfabrication Facility with other engineering students and (very recently) stand as the treasurer for the Association for Women in Computing club on campus. Later this fall I am looking forward to going to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Orlando as a sponsored trip. One of my favorite experiences so far was going on a spring break trip with other computer science students to visit tech companies in the Denver area. I've met some pretty awesome people thus far and hope to find new opportunities in the next year!
I like to spend my time outdoors as much as I can. In the summer I go camping quite a bit and attempt to tackle as many hikes as I can. If there's an opportunity to get out of town with some friends to get on the water for some wakesurfing or floating, I'm in! I also snowboard in the winter whenever I can get away.
Mechanical Engineering, Physics (minor)
Los Alamos, New Mexico
I am currently going into my fourth year of college here at MSU, however, I am going into my third year as a student in the college of engineering. I spent my first year of college majoring in Cell Biology and Neuroscience with the intent on someday becoming a dentist. I quickly discovered that biology was not my forte and that the physics and math courses I was taking seemed to be the only part of my time in school that I was enjoying. I made the decision to switch majors halfway through my second year at MSU and it has been the best decision of my college career so far. I went from barely passing my classes and letting everything I learned go in one ear and out the other to being excited about learning and wanting to apply everything I was learning about to my everyday life. I took my newfound passion for learning and channeled it into becoming a tutor for the physics department. I’ve spent the past two semesters teaching small study groups for physics I with and without calculus (205 and 220) and have loved every second of it. I’ve found that I like teaching physics almost as much as I love learning about it. This past semester I’ve started to become a lot more involved in the college of engineering. I’ve joined the Society of Women Engineers as well as the Women in Engineering Board. The physics department and college of engineering have made me feel at home here at MSU and I can only hope that I can help others feel the same way I do about learning through tutoring and programs like ePALs.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a massive nerd. When I’m not busy studying for classes and doing my homework I spend a lot of my free time reading —my favorite subject to read about being physics. The only thing I love more than physics is Star Wars. So, whether you’d like to talk Newtonian forces or the forces harnessed by the great and powerful Jedi, I’m your girl. When my nose isn’t in a book I like to spend my time outdoors, whether that means I’m hiking, running, walking, swimming, skiing, going to the farmers market, or picnicking in Lindley park. I consider myself an extraverted introvert and believe that I can get along with anyone. I like to spend time interacting with new people and having board game/movie nights and going to museums with my friends, both old and new.
I wish that I had the luxury of spending all my free time outdoors, reading, or hanging out with new people, but most of the time I have off from classes and homework I spend working. I “work” at ASMSU preschool. I put work in quotes because even though I spend 20 hours a week there and get paid for what I do, I love what I do there too much for it to feel like I’m working too hard. As much as I help keep the kid’s safe and help them have fun, they help me stay sane. Working with kids is a great way for me to blow off steam – sometimes you just have to forget about your adult sized problems by singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and running around playing hide and seek with a bunch of toddlers.
Chemical Engineering, senior
Growing up only an hour or so away from Bozeman meant that I was already well acquainted with the experiences that Montana has to offer before coming to MSU. I already loved fishing, hiking, snowboarding, and all the other things that Montana has to offer. What I didn't realize was that MSU offered all of these things and so much more. Since coming to MSU I have had to opportunity to participate in global development work in Kenya with the local chapter of Engineers Without Borders, conduct research on Staphylococcus aureus with a group in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, work with Big Brothers Big Sisters here in Bozeman, and participate in a local collegiate ministry group. Coming to MSU, I had a lot of expectations, but what I didn't expect, was to discover so many different passions that I have and so many different groups that allow me to pursue those passions.
To be fair, I study a lot. But when I'm not studying, I spend a lot of time working with Engineers Without Borders and other clubs that are here on campus. For fun, I enjoy hiking, reading, and occasionally going snowboarding. I spend a lot of time just hanging out with my friends and going on adventures with them as well.
Mechanical Engineering, Senior
I've been involved in research in the High Temperature Materials Laboratory since the summer after my freshman year, where I've gotten some good experience in materials science and attempted to pursue my dream of working in the renewable energy field. I was the historian for Engineering Without Borders for a year, but I've since taken a break from the club to focus on school and research. As a mechanical engineering student doing the mechatronics minor, I've faced a lot of frustration due to how much more I enjoy the computer science and electrical engineering courses than those in my own major. It makes me wish that I'd had more guidance when choosing my own major, which is a big part of why I want to help others choose theirs.
Primarily as a result of my disillusionment with my major, I am a consistent back-of-the-class student. I struggle to pay attention, though I've found that keeping my phone in my pocket helps a lot. I interned at Los Alamos National Lab last summer, where I worked in the weapons division. I found that I did not enjoy the work there, further adding to the problems I've faced in the selection of my major. However, I'll be back at LANL again this summer with a renewable energy group, where I will hopefully begin to figure out what direction I want to go. I'm also trying to minor in German.
I try to set aside one day every weekend for non-school-related activities, with the other set aside for homework. On the free day I'm usually hiking, mountain biking, skiing, climbing, or otherwise fulfilling Bozeman stereotypes. Although I grew up in Montana, I was a very late bloomer in terms of outdoorsy things, so I understand how hard it can be to start. You'll also find me at the bouldering wall on campus 2 or 3 days out of the week as a means of socializing and finding some means of physical activity. I also love to read, but school does its best to get in the way there as well.
Fei San Lee
Chemical and Biological Engineering, senior
I cannot imagine a better place to pursue my engineering degree than at MSU. I transferred to MSU in Fall 2015. In that first semester, I spoke to my Physical Chemistry professor for any opportunities for research jobs on campus, and he offered me to work with him at the Molecular Beam Facility in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. I learned many new things about research, but I realized their work was not my passion. So, I applied to for an Undergraduate Intern position at the Center for Biofilm Engineering (CBE). Currently, I am happy to be working as an Undergraduate researcher in the Standard Biofilm Methods Laboratory (SBML) at the CBE. In addition, I am also working as a Community Assistant in the MSU Family and Graduate Housing. I also have great volunteer experience at MSU as a participant and trip leader for MSU BreaksAway during spring break 2016 and 2017, where I get to help at a homeless meal program and children daycare center.
Although the transition during my first semester was difficult, the journey got easier as I got help from my professors, meet new people, and discover my passion for working with biofilms. My experience at MSU has been amazing, and I will be more than happy to help make yours amazing too.
When I am not studying, I am usually working in the lab, watching TV, playing badminton, baking, or hanging out at a friend's place while sipping tea, playing board games, or eating ice cream. In summer, when the weather is nice, I like exploring different trails. In winter, I enjoy the snow by learning cross-country skiing.
Rapid City, South Dakota
I am ending my undergraduate experience at MSU and have had plenty of ups and downs along the way so far. I have had many times of some strong motivation and just as many of wanting to change everything from my living situations to my major to my school. I came into college already declared as a Civil Engineering major (mostly just because it was what I thought I would be good at). Math and science were always the classes I could deal with the best in school. The first two years or so of school I really questioned if I was in the right place, doing the right thing, or headed in the right direction at all. I found through friends and peers that no matter what major you have in school there will always be certain classes or times you do not enjoy, but you have to get through them anyway. Talking with other people about their majors and classes helped me to stay on my feet and realize that my place and interest might not be as simple as Civil Engineering or math or science, but a little more complicated. My sophomore and junior year I tried to get more involved in my major by joining some engineering clubs and trying to get in to talk with my professors more often. It took me until the middle of junior year to find a part of Civil Engineering that I felt I would actually want to work in. As my classes got more specific structural engineering started to stick out to me more than the rest of this field. The classes felt like they came easier to me, and for the first time since picking my major I could be excited about getting to the point of working in the real world. While peers, faculty, and involvement helped me quite a bit with deciding to stay with Civil Engineering it was ultimately just time that made the biggest difference for me. I am super glad I picked a field as broad as Civil Engineering so that I could eventually find a place I think I can fit in well. Thinking back to all of the times of wanting to change things up I am glad I decided to stick with it all and keep searching for the right place for myself. The only school related regrets I still hold have to do with not being as involved with professors and programs in my major as I could have and not networking or getting in touch with those in the real world of Civil Engineering until later on.
What to do in Bozeman is most of the reason I decided on MSU in the first place. I love the atmosphere and surrounding area of Bozeman, and I wish I have taken more advantage of it in the past three years! I love skiing Big Sky or touring in the winters. Most weekends there is snow on the ground that is where to find me. The rest of the year I've learned to get better at fly fishing and climbing, and the more I'm out there the more I enjoy it each time. I also love going backpacking or camping with friends and trying to go to places around Bozeman I have never been to. With the rest of the time I am not studying I'll be watching football or just spending time with my roommates and friends.
Coming to MSU I was worried about academics and being the best student I could be. College has taught me so much of how important people and balance is. Yes, school is important which is why I am in college, but getting to know the people in my classes and various groups has helped me appreciate how much more there is to college than just getting a degree. It is about building connections with your classmates and professors and becoming more of a well-rounded student.
When I am not studying I coach gymnastics. I love teaching younger kids and helping them get excited about a sport that I am passionate about. But when I am not in school or at work I love to get out onto the trails, go fly fishing, or just be with my friends.