Will Harris

Will Harris

Post-graduation plans: I'm not sure yet! While in school, I didn't have a lot of time to think about what should be next. I'm passionate about open source projects and I'm looking forward to doing more personal projects. I am thinking about applying to the Creative Technology and Design Master's Program in the ATLAS institute.

This award recognizes undergraduates students who persevere despite hardship.

What is your favorite memory from your time at CU Boulder?

Definitely the IdeaForge. It was a place where I felt safe and able to deeply delve into my interests. I also appreciated the excellent HUMN (Humanities for Engineers) department classes and highly recommend them. Finally, some of my favorite classes were Philosophy courses. Philosophy is the birthplace of all the sciences, and provides a toolset for how I evaluate and plan my life. 

What accomplishment are you most proud of, either academically or personally?

I'm proud of my personal projects that were not spurred on by classes. Through the IdeaForge I learned a great deal about 3D printing, which led me to publish my creations and designs on Thingiverse, a platform where you share digital designs for 3D Printing.

Tell us about a moment (or moments) when you felt like you hit your stride or felt like you were “officially” an engineer.

I feel like a big part was when I realized that I should take notes for my future self, not to pass the class. There are notes I still look at every day. I also think about when I made the leap to create my first passion project. I designed something that directly influenced people's lives, and it felt natural to do. I also think that when I felt safe when asking for resources I felt like I was really an engineer. 

What was the biggest challenge for you during your engineering education? What did you learn from it?

I have trouble doing a lot of classes at the same time. I want to delve deeply into subjects, and if I have too high a course load, that way of learning isn't really possible, so I learned to take fewer classes at a time. I also had trouble planning ahead because there were so many immediate obligations, which leads to burn-out, and it was sometimes difficult to actually connect to all of the resources that the university provides. Recommendations from friends helped me in this regard.

What is your advice for incoming engineering students?

  • Take notes to teach your future self, not just to pass a class.
  • Keep a list of books and references. They might really come in handy in the future.
  • Some colleges have fewer courses at a time, so consider what the right path is for you.
  • Watch for red flags in professors. If you feel like their way of teaching doesn't work well with your style of learning, don't feel like you have to stay with that professor specifically.
  • Find ways to interact with your class that makes learning the material easy. Youtube is a great resource.
  • If you think a project might be fun, then it's worth pursuing.