"There is no way I'd be able to jump into an industry like this and hit the ground running without the skills I gained in my education."
Tom loves the constant challenge and evolving nature of engineering. At SAU, we provided the academic rigor and support that helped him thrive. It was a hands-on education in our engineering labs and in local firms, and we pushed Tom to use his growing skills to help a child communicate. His education had a direct impact on his future because we let Tom explore his potential in the world.
Tom is a automated systems engineer for Genesis Systems Group, in Davenport, Iowa, and was well prepared for the position. "I got a lot of hands-on experience with different electrical components in class," he says, "and one of the main experiences I got at SAU was interfacing with a real company on an engineering project." At SAU, learning goes far beyond textbooks. Here, you'll boldly explore the field.
How did your engineering internship help you?
"Every company has its own culture, especially in engineering," he says. "Being able to work with Genesis Systems before I was employed allowed me to become familiar with the culture and how things work here. I was able to hit the ground running with the skills and knowledge that apply to my daily tasks."
What surprised you about the engineering program?
"I didn't expect to get challenged quite so much. The projects we did were impactful. For my junior design I created a piece of technology to aid a young kid with shaken baby syndrome. Another student and I devised a small system with buttons and would output audio signals, words," he said. "I really didn’t expect to have an opportunity to have such an impact, that was really huge for me."
How did that experience broaden your understanding of engineering?
"When a customer has a need, it makes it a little more objective for an engineer to find a solution, and the constraints really dictate how impactful or beneficial the solution will be. When you have a need tied to an emotion, or you can provide a solution that sparks an emotional impact, it makes it so much more enjoyable."
What was the ultimate value of your education?
"The skills I learned in the engineering program have impacted my life all the way around. The tools and thought processes – and the ability to objectively look at a problem and try to find solutions – has affected my life in every way. I feel I am able to be more efficient in my actions in my daily life, as well as at work."