Mechanical Engineers, Gordon Composites
Mechanical Engineering, 2013 & 2014
How did you choose mechanical engineering as your major?
Daniel: Engineering was something that was always in my mind. My grandpa, both grandpas actually, did a lot of mechanical things. One of my grandpas worked for NASA, and that was something that was always kind of in my mind from him asking me if I was going to go to school for it. That’s really kind of what kicked it off for me. As an engineer, you see more of the 10,000 foot elevation kind of view. Being an engineer means a lot of problem solving.
Why did you choose the CU/CMU degree program?
Daniel: I chose CMU because of the partnership with CU. I just knew it would benefit me and my family. What surprised me about the partnership program was the sense of community that the professors had with the students, the empathy that the professors shared with the students, and the overall caring that the professors had for the students.
Tell me about your experience of raising a child while being enrolled in college?
Daniel: College life for us was driving 120 miles a day to go to class, and then after class go to work, and then after work, pound out some homework, and get up in the morning and do it all over again. And in the middle of it we had a child. It made things a little bit more difficult, but, you know, it was still worth it. Emma would go to school everyday with us, and the professors were always delighted to see her. That sense of community made it a lot easier to focus on our studies.
Tell me about your position at Gordon Composites.
Rebecca: Gordon Composites is right across from the airport in Montrose, Colorado. We make composite material that’s used in archery, furniture springs, snowboard parts and some skateboard parts. I’m a mechanical engineer. I do research and development work, and I look into new equipment, new chemicals, new processes. It’s really an accomplishment, to be able to say, yeah, I’m an engineer, to be able to say I made it through the education I did. It’s a very challenging field. You have to be a problem solver. You’re the one who’s given problems, and you have to solve them. It’s a lot of weight on your shoulders, but when you solve the problem, it’s pretty rewarding.
In what ways did the CU/CMU partnership appeal to you?
Rebecca: I wanted to be able to raise my daughter in a small community close to family where we could do all the fun things that Colorado has to offer. Also, I was really interested in being able to get a really reputable degree from a really reputable school. I think the CU name was definitely an advantage. I know they’re a top-rated school in engineering, and to be able to get that close to home in an area that I wanted, and to have the big school resources in a small school setting was important to me. There's a lot of value in that.
How has your degree influenced your career?
Rebecca: The biggest benefit that I got out of the Boulder partnership would probably be being able to have CU on my transcript. There were also a lot of scholarships that were specific to this program, and, because of that, we were able to get a lot of scholarship money. I was really appreciative of all the funding we received. Also, it meant the world to me to have staff who were incredibly understanding after the birth of our daughter. They allowed us the flexibility to not only have her at school with us, but they were understanding the kind of struggles that go along with being young parents and going to college.