First graduates of Colorado Mesa University- CU-Boulder partnership program set to graduate

Nine students who make up the first graduating class of the Mechanical Engineering Partnership Program with Colorado Mesa University will receive degrees from the University of Colorado Boulder this week.

The students have attended classes full time at CMU in Grand Junction, with CMU faculty teaching the lower-division courses and CU-Boulder faculty teaching the upper-division courses.

The partnership between the two schools was established four years ago and currently has 116 students at different stages of completion, along with 122 pre-engineering students who have expressed interest in the program.

The program is directed by CU-Boulder faculty member Timothy Brower, who is one of three CU-Boulder faculty based in Grand Junction.

Graduating senior Greg Wall, 25, of Grand Junction, said the program has been rigorous and he anticipates getting a promotion and a substantial pay raise at Williams Energy when he is finished. He has worked at Williams as a drafter throughout his bachelor’s degree program. He said the biggest factor in his choosing the CMU-CU program was its location.

“I didn’t have to quit my job in Parachute and I didn’t have to go into debt to go to school,” he said. “I had an associate’s degree in computer-aided design and drafting from CMU, and I was working with and for engineers. My supervisor said it was a good opportunity for my career.”

Aaron Clymer, 30, decided to enroll in the partnership program after spending four years in the Marine Corps. He returned to his home in Grand Junction and subsequently got married and started a family.

Clymer said he chose to attend the CMU-CU engineering program because it enabled him to earn a degree from CU-Boulder while enjoying the smaller, more personal environment offered at CMU.  “The name really carries a lot of weight,” he said, adding that he also enjoyed small class sizes and “a lot of face time with instructors.”

After graduation, Clymer will start full-time work as an engineer at GPD Global, a Grand Junction company that sponsored his senior engineering project. “They were impressed with the presentation and the ideas (our team) had. I was hired as an intern in February, and I just got a full-time offer,” he said.

“I don’t think I could have chosen a better career path,” Clymer added. “There’s so much involved in the engineering program -- communications, presentation skills, math, physics, problem-solving. It has just about everything.”

Jeremy Styers, 29, also was drawn to the program because of its location in Grand Junction. He transferred from Colorado State University after hearing about the program from friends and family.

He has been working part time this year at a local firm, Lewis Engineering, which sponsored his senior project, and recently received a full-time job offer with the company. “It worked out pretty well,” Styers said.

For more information on the CMU-CU-Boulder Mechanical Engineering Partnership Program visit http://www.coloradomesa.edu/engineering/me.html.

Contact:
Timothy Brower, program director, 970-773-0397
Carol Rowe, CU-Boulder, 303-492-7426
Mike Mansheim, CMU, 970-248-1412

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