We engineer world-class outcomes

Our alumni are our biggest impact. With more than 8,700 alumni and growing graduating classes, our alumni exemplify our commitment to improving the world through engineering.

Gabbi Bachand, B.S. in chemical engineering, '15

Gabbi Bachand

"One of my favorite experiences was working with the Mobile Engineering Education Lab and MESA programs. I was able to teach lessons and offer tutoring in math and science to K-12 students. Watching these students grow was remarkable. "

What is your current position?

I am a master’s student with my advisor, Dr. Chidambaram. I will be researching the performance of various metal compounds used in the fabrication of coin cell batteries. I am excited to be working in the new battery field offered by the college as I feel the topic is increasingly important for engineering as a whole.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

As an undergraduate student in chemical engineering, I was able to provide myself with the foundational knowledge necessary to become an engineer. I was also able to develop professional relationships with both peers and faculty members – some of which I look forward to keeping as lifelong connections. As a student, there are a wide variety of opportunities such as career fairs, competitions, and projects that are extremely valuable to career growth.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

One of my favorite experiences was working with the Mobile Engineering Education Lab and MESA programs within the College of Engineering. I was able to teach lessons and offer tutoring in math and science principles to K-12 students – in particular, a group of students from Hug High School. Watching these students grow as learners and passing on information I wish I’d had in high school was remarkable, and it all culminated in them making it to the Science Olympiad State Competition that spring! Answering their questions reminded me on a weekly basis of why I chose to be an engineer.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

Some of my favorite projects as an engineer have been with my internship at Walt Disney Imagineering … and are classified (I’ve always wanted to say that, but it’s actually true)! I can say that I was able to delve into environmental topics, supplement the information with spreadsheets of my own, and help the department make educated decisions for projects. Showing the validity of your work through calculations and analysis to others is deeply satisfying – and makes you feel like a real engineer.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

What I enjoy most about engineering … there’s a lot. I enjoy problem-solving, communicating ideas, analyzing results, being a professional, learning why things work, and advocating science education. Engineering affords me all of this, and it allows me to directly contribute to finding solutions to society’s most pressing issues.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

My advice to current and prospective students would be to take pride in the quality of your choices. Produce thoughtful and professional work. Work example problems. Distance yourself from cheating and those who cheat. Ask for help and give it freely to others. Be respectful to colleagues. Open your mind to new modes of thinking. Educate yourself in current events. Turn in your homework regardless of completion. Get a decent night of sleep. Take care of your health. Drop those who make you feel stupid. Suggest solutions in place of complaining. Support (and be one of) the positive people who work hard.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

Choosing my favorite engineering feat is akin to choosing my favorite element … it’s impossible! But an engineering feat that truly impresses me is water treatment. The amount of chemistry and quality control involved in water treatment processes is astounding. This is a technology that is wholly fundamental to human life, and yet it is so reliable and so affordable that our society openly takes it for granted.

Angela (Jeskey) Blankenship, B.S. in mechanical engineering, '12

Angela Jeskey

"We are currently wrapping up the BEAM project. This is an expandable habitat that will be an extension of the International Space Station. The crew members on the ISS will collect data from BEAM and we will be able to see if the habitat is safe for people to be in. Being a part of a project that hasn’t really been done before is very satisfying."

What is your current position?

I'm currently working as a mechanical design engineer for Bigelow Aerospace. I help design expandable space habitats. Our designs include habitats that can be extensions to the International Space Station and habitats that can be stand alone space stations.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

I used SolidWorks at work every single day, which I learned the basics of at the University. I also have to perform my own hand calculations and simple analysis. The classes I took in college gave me the knowledge base to be able to confidently analyze the parts I design. We have a team that runs in-depth analysis on our work, but I have to be able to run simple analysis as my designs change and develop.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

My most memorable experience was probably during my intro to engineering class. We were in groups and had to develop a hovercraft that could navigate a course on its own by the end of the semester. That was the first time I really saw a project go from an idea to a final working product, which is still my favorite part of engineering. Seeing something you thought of and designed being used in real life is very rewarding.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

At Bigelow we are currently wrapping up the BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) project. This is an expandable habitat that will be an extension on the ISS. The size of a space station is usually limited to the size of the rocket that can launch it into space. With the projects we are developing, a large spacecraft can be compacted and fit into a smaller rocket, then can be expanded once it gets to its destination. BEAM is basically a test for this concept. The crew members on the ISS will collect data from BEAM and we will be able to see if the habitat is safe for people to be in. Being a part of a project that hasn’t really been done before is very satisfying.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

I work at a fairly small company that machines most of our parts in-house. I enjoy the fact that not only do I get to design parts but I also get to be involved with machining, testing and installation of the parts. I also enjoy the people I work with. The mechanical engineering department has never consisted of more than 15 people as long as I have been here, so we are all really close and work really well as a team./p>

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

I would encourage them not to give up. There were many times in school that I would do poorly on an assignment or fail a test and I felt like I wasn’t smart enough to be a mechanical engineer. I was never the type of student who didn’t have to study and could still get A’s. I had to study constantly. In some classes the very best I could do was get a C and I had to learn to be ok with that, knowing I did my best, and try not to compare myself to everyone else. Everyone has different strengths. I thought everyone around me didn’t have to study as hard as me, and that I was the only one who struggled at times. But school is supposed to challenge us, and I quickly realized that most of the students around me felt exactly the way that I did, and that there are very few students that all of this just comes easy to.

Also school is completely different than actually working in the field. In school the professors have to test everyone individually to ensure everyone has leaned the material, but at work no one gives you a project and says, “Design this on your own. Don’t talk to anyone and don’t use the internet. You have an hour.” When you are working you have colleagues that can give you suggestions, and you can do as much research as you want. Even if you have an amazing idea, getting input from your peers is expected in the field, and most of the time even if your idea was amazing, someone else has a suggestion that you hadn’t thought of, and your amazing design becomes even better.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

I’d have to pick airplanes. As a kid I always felt like airplanes must have used magic to fly. Now that I understand more of the physics behind how airplanes work they still are mind blowing to me.

Kara Bymers, B.S. in civil engineering, '07

Kara Bymers

"My degree taught me how to think outside the box, utilize the resources around me, and always keep learning. You won’t know everything when you graduate, but I strive to learn from those around me every day."

What is your current position?

I'm a project manager at Atkins responsible for the design and management of various commercial and general aviation projects. My role as an aviation engineer includes design and plan preparation of runways, taxiways, aprons, and terminal expansions; including paving, geometry, profiles, alignments, drainage, grading, utilities, construction safety and phasing, lighting, and navigational aids; as well as responsible for bid documents, specifications, cost estimating, and engineer’s reports.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

Besides the fundamental engineering principles I still use every day, my degree taught me how to think outside the box, utilize the resources around me, and always keep learning. You won’t know everything when you graduate, but I strive to learn from those around me every day.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

Hands down: ASCE Concrete Canoe Team. I wish I could go back to college just to be on the canoe team again! I look back at all the fun times I had and they were always with those people.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

My most satisfying project to date is my very first set of plans I had the honor of signing and sealing – the New Orleans International Airport New North Terminal Project. I was involved in the project for over 2 years including site selection, conceptual design, and finally preparation of the construction documents. I am the Engineer of Record for the airside improvements which includes apron configuration for 30 new gates, RON parking layout, multiple taxiway realignments and extensions, assistance with gate layout, airspace analysis, and service road layout.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

I enjoy the diversity of every project. Not one project is the same as the last. I am always learning something new, trying to solve a new problem, and working at new airports around every corner. I’ve been privileged to work at airport all around the country, including Texas, Florida, Nevada, and California.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Always be open to new opportunities! I never thought my engineering career would land me a position in the aviation industry, but I learned quickly that there are so many opportunities available to engineers outside of what they teach you in the classroom. Always keep learning, be eager, and be willing to take a step out of your comfort zone.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

Considering I’m in the aviation industry, I have to say a very intriguing engineering feat is the Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS). Pretend you’re getting ready to land in New York to see the Statue of Liberty over Christmas break. You’re sitting top deck on a Boeing 747 aircraft. The pilot is on approach, finally touches down on the runway, but the brakes don’t work! That 10,000 foot runway seems very short after a few seconds. You start to panic but in a matter of seconds, you’re stopped and safe. You look out your window and it looks like you’re in a sea of quick sand. What happened? EMAS uses crushable material placed at the end of a runway to stop an aircraft that overruns the runway. The tires of the aircraft sink into the lightweight material and the aircraft is decelerated as it rolls through the material. So many people have been saved by the assembly of these EMAS blocks. You can get off the plane and now enjoy the big apple.

Lyle Carden, Ph.D. in civil engineering, '04

Lyle Carden

"Working with the owners, architects, other engineering disciplines and contractors, all with the same goal to bring a vision for a building to reality, is the most interesting part of my career. The work toward a common, positive goal in engineering is unlike many other professions, where you may be in a constant state of conflict or frequently interacting with people under duress."

What is your current position?

Principal, Martin & Chock, Inc. I coordinate and contribute to the analysis, design, retrofit and construction management of a range of building and other structures in the State of Hawaii and wider Asia-Pacific region. My work also has me involved in Building Code development and tsunami design research. Outside the office, I teach structural design courses at the University of Hawaii as an Adjunct Professor and am on the Board of Directors for the Structural Engineers Association of Hawaii.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

My Ph.D. allowed me to develop specialist expertise unique in Hawaii that gives me a competitive advantage in engineering practice and also allows me to pursue my research and teaching interests.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

My most memorable experience was when performing shake table experiments in the seismic engineering lab after many months of preparation. As much as we love to build things as engineers, we also love to break them when we can learn so much from it. I also appreciated being able to perform the cutting edge research in an environment that afforded a number of recreational activities.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

I have worked on a number of rewarding projects. Any time I can eat at a restaurant, go to a store or otherwise see a building for which I was involved in the structural design, it is a rewarding experience because I know the background that made it possible. The most rewarding project may be my first high rise condominium building in Honolulu, which can be seen on the skyline from many places around the city.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

While the creative process of a structural design is a rewarding endeavor, perhaps the most rewarding and most overlooked part of structural engineering is the relationships that develop as part of the design process. Working with the owners, architects, other engineering disciplines and contractors, all with the same goal to bring a vision for a building to reality, is the most interesting part of my career. The work toward a common, positive goal in engineering is unlike many other professions, where you may be in a constant state of conflict or frequently interacting with people under duress.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

While the creative process of a structural design is a rewarding endeavor, perhaps the most rewarding and most overlooked part of structural engineering is the relationships that develop as part of the design process. Working with the owners, architects, other engineering disciplines and contractors, all with the same goal to bring a vision for a building to reality, is the most interesting part of my career. The work toward a common, positive goal in engineering is unlike many other professions, where you may be in a constant state of conflict or frequently interacting with people under duress.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

In earthquake engineering the coolest things go largely unnoticed, except to those who look really closely. The Christchurch, New Zealand earthquakes of 2011, were disasters, where many lost their lives. Unfortunately, most people lost their lives in or near buildings not designed to modern seismic design standards. All the buildings designed to modern seismic design standards saved the lives of the occupants (with one notable exception and special circumstance). To consider how many more people would have died if it were not for progress made in the seismic design of buildings, when compared to other similar sizes events where seismic standards are not so well developed, makes me proud of the profession. That said, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Robbie Coomes, B.S., in civil engineering, '08, M.S., '11,

Robbie Coomes

"The most satisfying job that I have worked on was an independent design check of a cable supported bridge in Dubai. I went into engineering specifically because I loved how bridges looked, especially cable supported ones, and had hopes to one day work on one. While, this won’t be my last cable bridge, it was my first and will always stick with me."

What is your current position?

I am a mid-level Bridge Engineer with CH2M, the official title is Bridge Engineer 2. My role can vary from day to day, but in general my role is to design bridges, culverts, retaining walls, signs, and other structures for as part of roadway projects. As a bridge engineer I do everything from feasibility studies, to design, to helping manage projects. Some of my daily tasks include completing calculations, reviewing the calculations of others, detailing plans, writing specifications, completing cost estimates, writing project scopes, writing planning studies, analyzing reports from other disciplines, coordinating design with other disciplines (ie roadway engineers, geotechnical engineers, surveyors, etc.), and meeting with clients and competitors to discuss future projects.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

My degree gave me the background knowledge for the technical skills that I use on a day to day basis. My degree program taught me how to think analytically, how to do hand calculations, how to use software, how to understand and interpret software results, and how to prepare plans and other engineering documents.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

My most memorable experience as a student was being a part of the 2007-2008 UNR Concrete Canoe Team and winning Nationals in 2008. I had been involved in canoe, and other extracurricular activities, for many years and the hands on aspect was a great learning tool. While all my experiences in these activities were great, none was quite as exciting as traveling to Montreal, paddling a 20’ concrete canoe in an Olympic rowing basin, and then winning it all!

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

To date the most satisfying job that I have worked on was an independent design check of a cable supported bridge in Dubai. The bridge is a steel arch with cables that hang down to support an S-shaped steel orthotropic deck. The bridge is being built for a new canal district in Dubai. The funny part is that there is not currently a canal there, they are dredging it in after they build the bridges. My firm designed the bridge out of our Glasgow office using European codes and the Sacramento office did the independent check on it using US codes. I was part of the modeling team for the US effort and spent a significant amount of time modeling the behavior of the bridge when subjected to different loads. I went into engineering specifically because I loved how bridges looked, especially cable-supported ones, and had hopes to one day work on one. While this won’t be my last cable bridge, it was my first and will always stick with me.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

Every day holds a new challenge. Sometimes you think, “Oh, I have done this before, it will be an easy design” and then there is something that is slightly different with the project that makes it a totally different design. The ability to always challenge your mind and apply yourself to things that actually get built is very rewarding.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Two things: 1. Get involved in student activities and internships. Take what you are learning and apply it to real world scenarios. This will make engineering easier to understand while in school, and will make you a much better engineer in practice later. 2. Always push yourself and know that one day, all the hardships of school pays dividends. Try not only to get good grades, but to actually understand the material.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

Even though I am a bridge guy, I still think the coolest feat of engineering is a rocket. You have to consider that the invention of rockets is what is responsible for so many of the things we have today (like Satellite phones, GPS, Google Earth, etc.). Not only that, the fact that we can design something that has enough power to escape the pull of earth’s gravity and put men into space (without just exploding all the time) is pretty incredible.

Katie Dolan, B.S. in computer science and engineering, '14

Katie Dolan

"I love solving problems! That is my favorite part of my engineering career. I am given a problem and it is my job to find the best solution. The tougher the problem, the greater the reward is when I solve it."

What is your current position?

I am a Software Engineer with General Electric Oil & Gas. I design and write software that is used for oil and gas machinery diagnostics. My role includes data display, system performance enhancement, and backend design.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

My degree from the College of Engineering prepared me for learning new business specific topics because it gave me a good knowledge base to start with. My wide range of courses taught me how to learn in all areas of software. My degree was also imperative for learning how to learn new things in my field. For example, after learning multiple languages in classes and their best uses, I was able to leap into a career where I needed to learn even more languages and how to best utilize them.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

My most memorable experience was the Women In Computer Science Engineering (WICSE) Most Significant Bit event. There were so many women from various backgrounds and various majors interested in sharing ideas and learning about technology. It was so fun to see people engage with different technologies and learn how engineering can be applied.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

As an engineer, the most satisfying project that I’ve worked on has been data display for General Electric software. For that project, I had to learn a lot of new things and more importantly, I had to learn how to understand the customer. I loved learning about the impact that our product made and how customers used it. It was so satisfying to put together something that met design specifications and also pleased the customer.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

I love solving problems! That is my favorite part of my engineering career. I am given a problem and it is my job to find the best solution. The tougher the problem, the greater the reward is when I solve it.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

My advice to current students in Computer Science and Engineering is to think about the future of your code when programming. In industry, every project that you work on needs to be easily expanded upon in the future. Learn how to utilize standard design patterns.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

The coolest feat of engineering is the creation of the computer. It is a pattern on 1’s and 0’s that allow people to calculate, learn, and communicate! That is pretty sweet. And we can even keep them in our pockets.

Paul Ferrari, B.S.,in civil engineering, '71, M.S., '73,

Paul Ferrari

"Engineering is much more than individual feats. It is the bedrock of society; it provides life/safety to society every second of every day. Engineering is a state of mind that creates what science says may be possible. Engineers allow society to dream."

What is your current position?

Owner and president of Ferrari & Associates Structural Engineers for 35 years; currently, partner in Pezonella Ferrari LLC Consulting Engineers.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

My education at the University of Nevada College of Engineering provided me with the capability to enter the engineering profession and create a successful life-long career. My graduate degree was essential to my success.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

When I was a student in the College, I was influential in the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers being recognized as the most outstanding chapter in the nation, and being honored with the Ridgeway Award for the revitalization of Manzanita Lake on Campus. The article “Students Revitalize On-Campus Lake” was published in the Civil Engineering magazine, June, 1971. A by-pass pipeline was engineered and constructed to provide additional water flow to Manzanita Lake to help provide aeration to the stagnate water in the Lake and produce a better year-around water quality.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

The seismic retrofit/upgrade for the 140 year-old historic St. Mary’s in the Mountains Catholic Church in Virginia City, Nevada. I engineered a seismic retrofit that incorporated a reinforced concrete element into the existing brick masonry walls to provide seismic capability both for forces parallel and perpendicular to the walls. The reinforced concrete was placed into the width of the 5 brick wide wall in such a way that the exterior of the building was unchanged, and the interior face of the reinforcing concrete was covered by plaster to match the historic finish of the interior walls. The result is a seismically retrofitted historic church that has not had its historic appearance changed. The project was recognized by the Nevada Seismic Safety Council for historic seismic retrofit. It is important that our historic buildings be preserved for future generation.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

The most enjoyable aspect of my engineering education and career is the ability to recognize problems and devise innovative solutions.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Future engineering graduates need to be integrally involved in all aspects of society. They need to be articulate so that they can communicate their engineering knowledge to help solve societies’ problems. I would suggest that engineering students take a speech class so that they are comfortable addressing an audience, and, a leadership class, because they must be able to be in the forefront of the discussion. Many times engineers have a better understanding of problems and how to solve them; they must communicate this to society in general, and to elected officials specifically to create positive change.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

The space shuttle, the Golden Gate Bridge, the personal computer, etcetera, are all really cool feats of engineering. However, engineering is much more than individual feats. It is the bedrock of society; it provides life/safety to society every second of every day. Engineering is a state of mind that creates what science says may be possible. Engineers allow society to dream.

Oliver Finckh, B.S.,in mechanical engineering, ‘00,

"I enjoy working in a global company by visiting different countries and working with different cultural backgrounds. I enjoy making a difference in the world and letting the engineering finesse and superior design talk through data and facts instead of opinion and politics. "

What is your current position?

Just recently, I got assigned to be the Managing Director of FRIGOBLOCK, which is a 200 person company producing transport refrigeration systems from trucks in Europe. We cool any temperature sensitive products such as perishable goods, pharma products and electronic hardware. Frigoblock was bought by Thermo King in 2015. Together, we are the leading Transport Refrigeration Company in the world.

Frigoblock was bought because of its in-house developed electrification technology connecting the tractor engine to the refrigeration system with a generator-inverter combo. This may sound simple – but it is hard engineering work to be reliable and have the ability for integration into the truck. This generator-inverter combo gave us a market lead in capacity and efficiency.

Besides managing the company and all of its functions, I am also responsible to institute a global technology center around electrification and hybridization focusing on energy management, electrical storage, OEM relationship with the truck industry.

Until recently, I was the Chief Engineer at Thermo King. Thermo King is a company within Ingersoll Rand.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

There are two stories: When I started to study at the University, I came from Germany – and my intention was to do the least possible to pass the class. I was not aware of homework (in Germany, you don’t get a grade for homework), I was not attending class, and I missed a few mid-terms. Four or five weeks into my first term, a professor picked on me, asking critical question: “Why do you not attend class? Why don’t you submit homework? You will not pass my class.” This was done in a very friendly and respectful manner, but changed completely my attitude towards engineering. Up to this point, I was “managing my talent,” but was not really hard-working at all. To make a long story short: Compared to German Universities, the University of Nevada, Reno is an excellent place where you get well educated professors not only working with the student, but also caring about their performance. In Germany it is different. You come to the finals and get the grade you deserve, but you are on your own to succeed.

The second story is about learning the important step advancing from single functional class terms such as heat transfer, thermo dynamics (get the basics right!) to cross-functional team assignments during senior classes. In the beginning of these classes, I had a hard time getting motivated for project management, team-oriented performance, collaboration, task assignments for team members and applying what you have learned in previous classes – but this is reality! We engineers need to make things happen! Reflecting on my life as a student, these aspects could be much more emphasized as cross functional problem solving with adherence to a time table is where the rubber hits the road.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

The senior project together with Robb Lee (another “ME warrior”), when we realized what we had to do over the next 72 hours in order to finish the project. We worked around the clock for multiple day and aced the exam with 100%. When we turned our exam in, we weren’t tired, because we knew that we did great work – so we smiled.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

There are multiple ones:

  1. I was in a team designing the afterburner of the Military Joint-Strike Fighter engine. We designed a scaled down flame holder, which we tested with vitiated flow addressing noise, vibration, heat of combustion, flame speed, and flame stability, and converted into 1:1 dimensions. It was very exciting to see the actual performance at the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) in Tennessee. Don’t ask about the development cost and what it would have meant if the testing was not successful.
  2. I was in the core team to engineer a combined cooling, heating and power plant including 6 micro-turbines (360kW) and an absorption chiller (160RT). The first unit was installed in the newly established Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA.
  3. I was the project leader for developing the first standardized system for commercial refrigeration using CO2 as the natural refrigerant. Today, this is an approximately €300-400M business in Europe, with double digit growth rate. It makes me really proud, as we convinced the market with a technical approach based on better efficiency and making the world a better place. From a CO2 emissions point of view, establishing a supermarket using CO2 instead of R404A is equal to getting rid of 50-100 cars purely by increase of efficiency, considering the current energy mix within Germany.
  4. Now I am working on…. Stay tuned!

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

I enjoy working in a global company by visiting different countries and working with different cultural backgrounds. I enjoy making a difference in the world and letting the engineering finesse and superior design make the talk through data and facts instead of opinion and politics. On top - if you work within a team with great skills and motivation – this is the best job combination I can think of. I am also a big believer in work and play balance, but the best test you can do on your job is, whenever you come home elate from work. If you are still full of energy, you know that you like what you do.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

You are your own master of your own destiny. Never give up on learning. Be a growth-minded person who focuses on your own process or learning curve. In the long run, good, but lazy talent will not survive – and will dwell in their own glorious past. Don’t be shy to ask questions – only good questions will lead to good answers, where you learn from.

If there are some obstacles in your career (you have a bad boss, or you don’t like to project you are on) – be patient. A good company is always interested to let you excel where you do best. Ask for these assignments.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

Wow – that is a hard question!

From a mechanical engineering point of view, and to address the world we want to live in, I would consider electrification as my choice number 1, and I am saying this not only from a power generation point of view. Recent developments in energy split, management and storage, transmission and telematics will enable us to not only supply energy to points where it is needed, but also give us incredible means to insert electrified products in every corner of our life to improve our quality of life: electric cars, micro-grids with renewable energy sources, mobile phones connected to remote HVAC, cars, and power plants using freely available, low exergy energy sources being converted into useful energy/work.

Of course, as an engineer, cars are fascinating. Just recently, I was allowed to drive a Porsche GT3-RS with 500hp. The ability to accelerate from 0-60mph in 3.3sec in a controlled straight line, without any hesitation and an actual feeling of comfort is a result of great engineering work! However, I will not answer the question, whether or not everyone should have this type of car.

Bryan Hansen, B.S. in mechanical engineering, '95, M.S., '97

Bryan Hansen

"I believe the college did an exceptional job at preparing me for the demands of an engineering and medical career by giving me the problem solving skills. I most enjoy using my engineering skills to efficiently and accurately diagnosis and treat patients as a chiropractic physician."

What is your current position?

I am the founder and CEO of ProSpinal, Inc. and Leading Edge Chiropractic. I started with an amazing career at Hughes Aircraft in El Segundo, CA as a systems engineer in charge of automating a three story vacuum test chamber capable of simulating the environments of space for satellite defense testing. After four years, I relocated to Tucson AZ to work on a different part of the Space Based Infrared Systems – Low Orbit program and to get my final prerequisites for Chiropractic College.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

I believe the college did an exceptional job at preparing me for the demands of an engineering and medical career by giving me the problem solving skills.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

I enjoyed the comradery and atmosphere of the engineering environment. I was surrounded by like-minded motivated intelligent people.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

Developing a GUI interface and integrating it into a three story vacuum chamber used to test space defense satellites.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

I most enjoy using my engineering skills to efficiently and accurately diagnosis and treat patients as a chiropractic physician.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Engineering degrees will prepare you for any career by teaching an analytical solution-based way of thinking!

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

Aeronautics

Joyce Holtzclaw, B.S. in mechanical engineering, '87, MBA, '90

Joyce Holtzclaw

"I am proud that people in America have been able to drive their cars and heat their homes, have plastics for cell phones and medicine, and about 50 other items all at a relatively inexpensive rate while we in the industry have learned to produce it more cleanly and at less risk that ever before. I think the challenge for the young people entering today will be the same as it was for my generation and that is to do it better. That is what engineering is all about, always looking for ways to make something better. "

What is your current position?

Senior Vice President Western SJV Div. for E&B Natural Resources. E&B Natural Resources is a privately owned small to midsized oil and gas company. I am over one of 4 divisions. I still do petroleum engineering but a large part of my job is managing the holdings in 12 California fields with 50 fulltime employees. I make sure we operate safely and environmentally in compliance. I help our Public Affairs department consider the impacts of proposed laws, work on the company reserve report which is determining how much oil or gas can be produced from a well or field and I plan future development projects with my staff of geologist and engineers. I prepare capital and operating budgets for the division and help evaluate acquisitions.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

I think the degrees in engineering help you because you learn to think and be challenged and know that everything will not be easy. My degree in mechanical engineering has a lot of application to petroleum. Courses like fluid flow and dynamics are very applicable to what happens in a reservoir or in the facilities on the surface. Heat transfer is very applicable to the steam-floods that we have in California. Further in college we learned about pipe flow, compressors, pumps and other equipment that are used all the time in our facilities. Since I had already taken some geology and had worked as an engineering assistant for oil companies going to work as an engineer for Chevron after graduating was very comfortable. I love the variation that the oil and gas industry provides in terms of opportunities. We are in a down turn now but it will turn around. Most industries have a cyclical nature that follows the economy of the global economy.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

Working on the compressor design for our senior project was memorable as I think my foursome stayed up and worked on it for 48 hours straight trying to finish it.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

I’ve worked on quite a few but a Berry Petroleum Midway Sunset cyclic-steamflood of the diatomite stands out because I took it from a lease with no wells being economic in the diatomite to putting in a pilot and planning a project with over 1000 wells. The diatomite reservoir is a very tight rock similar in permeability to shale but it has high porosity that can exceed 50%. Normally you see diatomaceous earth in cat litter. We automated the steam so that when it would reach a pressure that was too high for the state set pressure limits it would automatically cut the steam rate by closing the valve 50% and if we weren’t at the target rate It would open up just slightly in 30 seconds and continue checking it every few seconds until it reached the target rate. The programmer and I coauthored a technical paper about the steam system for the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

When I was in high school there were lines at the stations and the oil embargo was on everyone’s mind. I decided then that I wanted to help find energy for our country. Being and engineer in oil and gas has allowed me to make friends all around the world and to travel to many countries. I have never been bored because I’ve done a wide variety of jobs from being in drilling to working on the reservoir plans and planning the facilities as well as in operations in the field. I have been challenged to always learn new things and to stay up on technology. I am proud that people in America have been able to drive their cars and heat their homes, have plastics for cell phones and medicine, and about 50 other items all at a relatively inexpensive rate compared to the rest of the world while we in the industry have learned to produce it more cleanly and at less risk that ever before. I think the continuing challenge for the young people entering it today will be the same as it was for my generation and that is to do it better. That is what engineering is all about, always looking for ways to make something better.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Studying Mechanical Engineering is a good way to go because it prepares you for so many job options. Study hard; get good grades as they matter in getting a job. Whether you like it or not they are a reflection of how hard you are willing to work. If you want to go into Petroleum then consider your optional courses carefully. You may want to take some geology and try to get internships in the summer. Summer work experience in the industry is important. Most new hires have been an intern first. Plan that you will be learning and often taking more job specific classes your first few years on the job!

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

I think putting man on the moon and returning him when it was done was incredible. Many of the calculations would have been done by hand as they didn’t even have a lot of calculators until the mid 1970’s. The computers they had then were nothing like what we have now; they were huge, slow and bulky.

Samar Ijaz, B.S. in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering '16

Samar Ijaz

"The degree allowed me to approach problems in a different way, while using engineering principles as the foundation and finding solutions that are feasible. "

What is your current position?

Engineer at H&T Nevada, LLC (Tesla Gigafactory). I help design and implement assembly components used to produce battery shells.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

The degree allowed me to approach problems in a different way, while using engineering principles as the foundation and finding solutions that are feasible.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

The most memorable experience was starting a small protein business with college friends. The product is called, “Pack Protein Plus” now selling at the UNR wolf shop. The product was designed to help students physically and mentally.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

My team and I designed a semi-automated manufacturing system for shoe covers.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

Being able to learn different skills and apply those skills to real world problems.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Focus mainly on the fundamentals and get very strong in two to three engineering softwares.

Also school is completely different than actually working in the field. In school the professors have to test everyone individually to ensure everyone has leaned the material, but at work no one gives you a project and says, “Design this on your own. Don’t talk to anyone and don’t use the internet. You have an hour.” When you are working you have colleagues that can give you suggestions, and you can do as much research as you want. Even if you have an amazing idea, getting input from your peers is expected in the field, and most of the time even if your idea was amazing, someone else has a suggestion that you hadn’t thought of, and your amazing design becomes even better.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

Renewable energy. The design of solar panels and wind turbines.

Justin Kunert, B.S. in civil engineering, '12

Justin Kunert

"Accept every opportunity you are presented with while in school. There is so much to be learned within and outside of the classroom, whether it be clubs, intramural sports, or employment. Engineering is a vast world of opportunities you can expose yourself to, and this exposure will better enable you to find what you are passionate about. "

What is your current position?

Design Engineer at Excel Engineering. My role includes drafting and designing of Site Development plans for commercial buildings and apartment complexes. Includes drainage design, site grading, storm drain design, and utility infrastructure.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

Speaking in generalities, my degree from Nevada provided me with a well-rounded, comprehensive view of what to expect when I started my career as an engineer. Specifically, while earning my degree, I can think back to concepts learned in classes that I use in practice today. In fact, I even keep old notes from hydrology and water resources classes in my office!

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

My most memorable experiences come from times spent with fellow students in the College of Engineering, especially while with fellow members of the UNR Concrete Canoe Team. With the team, I learned so much, had a great time with friends on the team, and travelled across the country competing with other Universities. Such a fun and unique experience.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

My most satisfying project was the first job I ever worked on as a professional. I was part of a large team tasked with preparing a construction cost estimate for the new high speed rail project in northern California. I was assigned to work on 4 different bridges, and eventually accounted for millions of dollars of estimated work. Unfortunately, the bid was unsuccessful, but the experience was very rewarding.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

I still love building relationships with my coworkers. Just like in school, I like working with others to manage tasks and complete job assignments. There is much value in learning to communicate, listen, and understand others to reach a common end goal, especially in technical settings.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

My advice to prospective and current students would be to accept every opportunity you are presented with while in school. There is so much to be learned within and outside of the classroom, whether it be clubs, intramural sports, or employment. Engineering is a vast world of opportunities you can expose yourself to, and this exposure will better enable you to find what you are passionate about (and once you get too busy start to weed out your least favorite responsibilities).

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

If you get the chance, drive over and stop on the Hoover dam. Not only is this dam so impressive, you can also observe the large concrete arch bridge that spans across the canyon up above.

Michael Levi, B.S., in civil engineering, '09, M.S., '11

Michael Levi

"Join a professional society and be involved with the projects such as concrete canoe or steel bridge. It is worth the extra hours to gain the experience working with others and in teams that you cannot get in the classroom."

What is your current position?

Lead Engineer, Connected Structural Group. I design steel connections for large scale industrial buildings and fully design egress stairways. In addition to this I am responsible for all calculation reports made to the building officials and coordination work with the client.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

My degree helped me in understanding the main concepts that I use in my work every day. At least once a month I reference my steel notes from my senior year to reference how to do a specific connection that I have not looked at in a while.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

My most memorable experience had to be helping to host Mid-PAC.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

Adventure Isle at Disney Shanghai

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

The feeling when you are stuck trying to make a connection work and cannot figure out the optimal way to design a connection and then you finally realize what you need to do and it just clicks.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Join a professional society and be involved with the projects such as concrete canoe or steel bridge. It is worth the extra hours to gain the experience working with others and in teams that you cannot get in the classroom.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

The Apollo Space Program

Per Peterson, B.S. in mechanical engineering '82

Per Peterson

"Engineers are important advisors to policymakers. But our nation could be even stronger if more engineers choose to run for public office, and become our future decision makers."

What is your current position?

I am a Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and also Executive Associate Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. I get to work on problems I really care about, to make our energy supply cleaner and to enable engineers to make our world a better place.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

UNR puts a strong focus on providing excellent education to its students. It encourages learning over competition, something I’ve really valued ever since in my career.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

Growing up in Reno, UNR provided a great place to learn. My most important memories involve the other students, and the faculty.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

I’ve been fortunate to be able to work on problems in energy and environment that I really care about, throughout my career. It’s a long list, but I think the most important part is to make your decisions based upon your judgment for what is best for society and our world.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

I enjoy all of the opportunities to meet people who have skills different from mine, and to learn from them.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Engineers need to be trusted for their judgment. In making decisions, do what you believe is the right thing. Engineers are also important advisors to policymakers. But our nation could be even stronger if more engineers choose to run for public office, and become our future decision makers.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

I’m a big fan of SpaceX. This is world class engineering—building teams, combining technologies, choosing to use a large number of small rocket engines, and disrupting an entire technology sector for the better.

Amber Sosa, B.S. in civil engineering, '04, MBA '11

Amber Sosa

"I have been blessed to be able to stand back and see the impact certain projects have had on neighborhoods and communities. These have been some of the most satisfying moments, seeing an impact to community and real lives."

What is your current position?

Senior Civil Engineer for the City of Sparks. I work on many different types of construction and planning assignments pertaining to infrastructure within the City of Sparks.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

In school and in earning my degree, I was exposed to many aspects of civil engineering which have helped me prepare for the variety of projects I have gotten the chance to be apart of. From transportation design, to materials, to environmental science and economics, seeing many all these different focuses has helped me be a more useful part of many different types and sizes of projects.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

My most memorable time in college was during my senior year when I could finally see the culmination of my years of studying and effort coming to a completion. Seeing everything come together gave me confidence moving forward that I was prepared to make my next step.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

Some of my most satisfying moments have come at the end of projects. I have been blessed to be able to stand back and see the impact certain projects have had on neighborhoods and communities. I have been told by neighborhood residents and business owners of the positive impacts particular projects have had on their immediate lives. These have been some of the most satisfying moments, seeing an impact to community and real lives.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

I really enjoy all the people I get to work with. During a projects initial phase, I get to work with design professionals to create as complete a set of construction plans as possible. Along the way there are also opportunities to work with homeowners, business owners, politicians and local leaders to gain support for the project. During bidding and construction, I get to work with professional contractors who are experts at bringing construction plans to life. This array of people always make projects exciting to work on and give each one its own unique feel.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Get involved in your industry and get to know people. In school, get involved with engineering clubs and competitions. Join study groups with fellow classmates. Get an internship or a job in whatever field may interest you. Whatever means possible, get involved and make some relationships.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

The advancements our society has made in transportation continues to amaze me. Through such feats as building amazing structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge, interstates that cross our nation, and rail and air travel options, our opportunities to explore our world are made so much greater because of our ability to travel and to do so in a timely and convenient way. Pair that with transportation that is becoming faster and more environmentally conscious and our opportunities to explore our planet are becoming endless.

Dave Stiver, B.S. in mechanical engineering, '93

Dave Stiver

"I learned to love fluid mechanics as a specialized discipline within engineering which gave me reason to go to graduate school and then pursue careers in submarine hydrodynamics, energy management, data center design, and energy management. That passion for the math and physics has carried me a long way."

What is your current position?

I work at Google.I recently moved to a Product Manager role after 20 years of experience in various engineering and management roles. My current team is part of Google’s cloud business, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) We’re focused on developing our technical hardware roadmap into compelling products for our Cloud customers and how we expand GCP globally.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

For large portions of my career, the technical disciplines that I practiced in school were an important part of my career. The fundamentals of fluid mechanics, heat transfer, structural dynamics, electrical, and programming were the base.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

I learned to love fluid mechanics as a specialized discipline within engineering which gave me reason to go to graduate school and then pursue careers in submarine hydrodynamics, energy management, data center design, and energy management. That passion for the math and physics has carried me a long way.

I also loved the camaraderie of the ME department. Whether it was huddled together in the ME lounge trying to figure out heat transfer assignments from Dr. Greiner, or building mockups of carbon fiber frames for the Human Powered Vehicle competition, those memories have stayed with me. I learned a lot of lessons about how to work together, which have carried me forward in my professional career.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

I was a part of Google during an explosive growth period between 2005 and 2012. Google has an insatiable demand for data center capacity and I led one of the teams responsible for designing compute, storage, networking, power, and cooling infrastructure during that time frame. People often talk about the scale of Google, but I’m most proud of the work we did to design and deploy the most efficient data centers in the industry.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

Like all true engineers, I just can’t resist a hard problem. Here in Silicon Valley, we’re like moths to a flame. If you have a hard problem to solve, put it up on a billboard on 101 with your email address, and you’ll have 1000 engineers email the answer:)

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Understanding the physical world is amazing. Find the piece of physics that interests you most and dig into it as far as you go. But also understand that the digital world is moving quickly, and your ability to access information, make sense of it and apply it to your field is likely to be critical to your success. When I graduated from UNR, we all learned heat transfer from Incropera and Dewitt. Now everyone has access to that information, they just ask Google.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

She didn’t know she was an engineer at the time, but when a woman invented the first wheel, she probably didn’t realize that she was setting us on a path where technology has had the ability to shape and sometimes transform the way we live. That’s pretty cool.

Austin Travis, B.S. in mechanical engineering, '15

Austin Travis

"One of the compliments I receive most often is on my ability to talk with people, identify challenges, and present solutions clearly and with style. I wouldn’t have had the first clue in how to deliver concise reports or wow execs with presentations without Engineering Communications."

What is your current position?

Project Engineer, Lyngsoe Systems: SolidWorks design, project coordination, customer site visits, installations, wiring, travel, writing reports – all to get libraries hooked up with the latest in automated material handling! I’m not saying it’s a bunch of book-sorting robots. All I’m saying is maybe it is.

Senior Technical Writer, Aldene Consulting: Contract technical writing to help small businesses submit proposals that win big government projects! Lots of writing, Request-For-Proposals review, flow charts, and presenting big, technical ideas in pretty formats.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

If I had to pick one thing? Engineering Communications. One of the compliments I receive most often is on my ability to talk with people, identify challenges, and present solutions clearly and with style. I wouldn’t have had the first clue in how to deliver concise reports or wow execs with presentations without Dr. Bauer’s disciplined & focused lessons.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

Late night exam cramming! There were always great spaces with useful resources between the IGT Matthewson Knowledge Center and, my personal favorite, the DeLaMare Library. One of the highlights was setting up the DLM’s conference room with pizza & study music, and then using the rolling ladder to fill the 10ft x 30ft whiteboard walls with example problems.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

I was sent to a customer site for my second week of work to help install and test a sorting system for a new Library in Toledo, OH. Two of us started with crates of material and finished a week later with a scanning, humming, twinkling, gleaming conveyor line. The system had been engineered really well, documented exhaustively, and went together easily. More than the work, that project opened my eyes to the kind of work that engineers do behind the scenes. Smart design, clear drawings, detailed instructions, & smooth processes.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

The best part by far is working with systems that make people’s lives easier. Lyngsoe’s automated systems can sort thousands of books an hour and run 24/7. Library staff alone are grateful to take a large chunk of tedium out of their lives, but even library patrons love our work. Most of our libraries install windows to show the machines off, and say they always have small crowds of people excited to see libraries implementing more technology.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Take initiative & do your homework. It helps for tests, but it’s also critical in approaching companies you want to join, designing with healthy safety margins, or even stumbling on a simpler & more elegant solution. A habit of thoroughness will serve you much better than a dependence on late night, last minute, lucky, quick-fire work.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

It’s hard to pin down any one project.

A Finnish company invented the LeverAxe, which uses rotation to split wood more easily and completely removes the risk of leg injury from an improper hit.

The Gravity Light Foundation is developing LED’s powered by gravity resistance in areas where oil and kerosene have been the norm for decades. The lamps never need recharging or fuel, and cheaply cut the risks from fire, contamination, smoke inhalation.

Sawyer International developed a mini portable water filter that protects against bacteria, protozoa, cysts like E. coli, and the particles responsible for water-borne Cholera and Typhoid. These filters have no moving parts, a high flow rate, and can last a decade.

The coolest thing engineers do is refine ideas until they have simple solutions to prevalent challenges – and improve global quality of life.

Marissa Tsugawa, B.S., M.S. in mechanical engineering, '12, '14

Marissa Tsugawa

"I love being a graduate student. I love the freedom I have to study really anything I am interested in. I hope some day I will become a faculty member myself."

What is your current position?

Graduate Teaching/Research Assistant at the University of Nevada, Reno. I am currently working on my PhD under Adam Kirn. My focus of research is engineering education. Specifically, my area of focus is motivation and identity in engineering students to help improve experiences in engineering degree programs.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

My degree has helped me enter graduate school, which has always been my dream. Because I did well in school and got to know the professors I was able to get a work as a graduate teaching/research assistant.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

My favorite experiences as an undergraduate has to be staying up late in the night working with friends trying to solve homework problems. My favorite experience as a graduate student has to be when I was a teaching assistant and helping out undergraduates in their classes. I enjoy the struggle people go through and all the hard work being put towards getting a degree.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

One of my favorite projects I worked on was at an internship I had at Advanced Composite Technologies. I worked on manufacturing composite parts for the army. I had a lot of fun laying up the composite materials to create something useful. It was also satisfying when I was able to complete many parts in one day.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

I love being a graduate student. I love the freedom I have to study, really anything, I am interested in. I enjoy interacting with the undergraduates and faculty and I hope some day I will become a faculty member myself.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

The best advice I would give prospective students would be to enjoy what you are studying. Find your passion so you can find the most joy in life and be successful. Do not ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do it.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

My favorite thing ever resulting from extensive engineering is the airplane!

Katie Weagel, B.S. in civil engineering, '10, M.S. in environmental engineering '12

Katie Weagel

"I’ve met what are now my best friends in the student organizations I was involved in. Students in these organizations are in similar classes and can be an invaluable resource for homework help. My involvement also allowed me to be introduced to industry professionals, which helped quite a bit when I was looking for a job."

What is your current position?

I am a Civil Engineer Intern at Construction Materials Engineers, Inc. (CME), which is a local firm that specializes in materials testing, special inspection, geotechnical engineering, and construction administration. I am a concrete mix design engineer and reviewer, as well as a Project Manager and/or Assistant Project Manager on several projects. I am also able to get out in the field to perform concrete surveys/analyses to determine behavior in the field and how that relates to the intended design for the in-place concrete.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

The demanding coursework not only taught me difficult engineering concepts, but also developed my skills in problem solving and multi-tasking, which are both essential to the day-to-day challenges in my career.

In graduate school, learning the most efficient ways to research new topics and write about them/present them in an effective manner has helped me quite a bit in my current position. These skills are necessary for proposal writing and writing reports communicating test/analysis results to clients.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

I would definitely say my involvement with the Nevada Concrete Canoe Team and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). I joined the team at the end of my freshman year, and I was hooked the rest of my time at UNR. Met great people and got true hands-on experience on a project that had a tangible product we could see in action and take pride in. The single most memorable moment was winning Nationals in Montreal, Canada after my first full year on the team as a paddler and concrete mix designer.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

An investigation into premature concrete cracking in several local public works projects. My responsibilities included analyzing the data we collected on problems seen in the areas and determining the most likely causes and possible mitigation measures. I enjoyed figuring out the causes of the issue and potential solutions so that it would not continue to be a problem in the future. It was very rewarding to see that our findings led to a change in concrete specifications, which would be the new design & construction standards for all local public works projects.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

Two things: One is that every project is different and presenting new challenges, so I am constantly learning. I also love that many of our projects are local and tangible, so the results can be seen/enjoyed by my peers and the Reno/Sparks community.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Join a club while you’re in school! I’ve met what are now my best friends in the student organizations I was involved in at UNR. Also, students in these organizations are in similar classes and can be an invaluable resource for homework help and insight into the best courses to take. My involvement also allowed me to be introduced to industry professionals, which helped quite a bit when I was looking for a job after graduation.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

Maybe not the most glamorous, but I think the coolest feat is the extensive water treatment systems we have in place across the United States to allow for accessible, clean drinking water every time you turn your faucet on . . . without a thought. It amazes me, and so does the science and engineering behind it.

Nishok Yadav, B.S. in computer science and engineering, '14

Nishok Yadav

"Engineers have already come up with plenty of advancements that have completely changed the world, but the best part is: we're just getting started."

What is your current position?

Firmware Engineer I at Scientific Games (was previously called Bally Technologies). When developing a game, I have to: make sure the math behind the game is correct, implement the correct graphics, and implement all of the features that are associated with the game. Since games are classified differently, we have to make sure each individual game is suited to the rules and regulations for each jurisdiction of gaming. During the process of making a game, I constantly have to debug the code to find the issues until there are none left. I also assist other engineers with setting up reference games on third party machines.

How did your degree from the College of Engineering prepare you for your career?

My degree helped me by teaching me Object Oriented programming as well as teaching me C++ as our primary development language. The work I do is almost entirely in C++ so having a good foundation in that definitely helps.

What was your most memorable experience as a student in the College?

There were a lot of fun experiences I had, but the one that is sticking out to me was participating in Circle K's CKI North competition for multiple years with my team. This event of basically a mini-Olympics where there were multiple games and each team competed in all of them to try and be the best and make it on to the mystery final game.

What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on as an engineer?

One of my first games was called “Double Dragon.” I ended up having to stay late multiple times for that game because I was trying to figure out how to implement the lighting in such a way that it could imitate the reference game I was using. When I finished that game, I was so happy (and simultaneously frustrated) because it was finally over, but the process of getting there taught me a lot about how things work here and that it is a good idea to ask for help when you are over your head.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

Getting to develop slot machines games is cool, but I would have to say getting to work with other people that are fun to be around and who enjoy the same things you do is one of the nicest things about this career.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students in your field of engineering?

Make sure that going into this field is what you really want to do. By that I mean, have a passion for the field you are looking into. If you are just starting college and trying to find your field of engineering that you will love, choose the one that sounds the most fun to you. If you are already an engineering student, get some hands on experience with an internship or something similar so that you can see the kind of work that you will be doing in the future to know if it is right for you.

From the Great Wall of China to electric cars, engineers have created some pretty impressive stuff. In your opinion, what is the coolest feat of engineering?

The coolest feat of engineering is how it has transformed the world. I don't think I could pick one thing and says it's the best thing that has come from engineering. Amazing structures have been built and insane technologies now exist that I never would have imagined. Engineers have already come up with plenty of advancements that have completely changed the world, but the best part is: we're just getting started.