Mike WalkerBackground Info –non-academic, industry experience, hobbies
I spent a few years in industry between my undergrad and grad work.  Most of this time was spent with United States Gypsum (USG), working in the Research and Development arm of the company.  As far as hobbies, I have been playing the drums since I was 10, and I have played in various rock bands over the years.  I am hopefully getting something together soon here in the Denver area!

Are you active in any professional societies?
I am active in AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) where I recently started serving as the co-chair of programming for the Environmental Divisions' Legislation and Regulation topic area. I am also active with the Food Industry Environmental Council and a member of the American Chemical Society.

What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about teaching and my research, which focuses on analyzing/reducing energy and water consumption in industry.  I am also passionate about my music.

What classes do you teach?
I teach Thermodynamics II for MCEN, as well as the senior capstone design course for EVEN.  I have also taught a few freshman design courses, and will be developing/delivering a new computer-based lab course on process modeling for EVEN.  The new course will introduce students to computer modeling software and analysis techniques.

What is your favorite thing about being an environmental engineering professor at CU?
The people. The students, faculty and staff here at EVEN are top-notch, and it makes for a fantastic teaching/working environment.  I am excited to be a part of such a great program.

Do you have any advice or words of wisdom to give to prospective or current students?
Never give up, and learn to take pride in your work.  If you care about what you do, you will stand out from the crowd.

What’s your best engineering pun? 
Entropy just isn’t what it used to be.

Mike WalkerFrom your experience as a Senior Design instructor, how do project courses and hands-on experiences add to the academic experience of students?
Senior design and other project-heavy courses allow students to apply knowledge learned in previous coursework and can provide a more practical working experience for students.  Specifically, these courses force students to approach open-ended and ill-defined problems – exactly the type of issues they will face as practicing engineers! These courses are particularly valuable because students become invested in their projects.  When students want a project to succeed, and are given proper guidance, they will do and learn whatever is necessary to accomplish the task at hand.  In the end, they tend to impress even themselves.

In your opinion, what’s the most important asset for a student’s success?
The most important assets for a student’s success are patience, perseverance and confidence.  Of the three, I think most students that make it through an engineering program like ours develop patience and perseverance.  I think it is important to bring up confidence because it is less common, and it is something that can be developed through time and focus (i.e., more patience and perseverance!)

As an experienced drummer, how can extracurricular activities and non-engineering related skills help engineers succeed in college? How do these activities add to the resume of an applicant?
As students and academicians, we spend far too much time in our own heads.  Extracurricular activities like music and sports are an important escape from the grind of work and school.  Music and athletics also help us learn to focus our attention to the task at hand, and how to deal with performance anxiety.  Both skills are essential to success in academics and the workplace.  I would certainly suggest listing activities you are passionate about on your resume.  It might make you stand out slightly on paper, but it will be more helpful for in-person interviews.

Do you have a favorite memory or experience working with your students?
Naming a specific moment would be difficult.  I think I had the most fun during out of class pre-exam review sessions, because these were entirely student-driven and their desire to put the extra time in to learn was wonderful.

Michael Walker Contact Information

August 19th, 2015