Oh, The Places You’ll Go

Spring is a time when flowers bloom, ice melts, true love awakens, and many Tech Seniors graduate. They’ve shown commitment and consistency in completing a 4+ year undergraduate degree, and they’re getting ready to transition into the next stage of their lives. This week I sat down with four Tech Seniors and talked with them about their overall experience at Tech and their post-graduation plans.

Chandra Sundaram

Chandra originally came to Tech in the fall of 2012, and is graduating this May with a major in math and a minor in mechanical engineering, with a lot of computer science experience as well. When I asked her about her overall experience at Tech, she said “It had its ups and its downs… but I wouldn’t change it for anything.” She’s not 100% sure what she will do after graduation, but she has several options. Her internship at ICASA might turn into a full time job in Socorro, but she is also looking for jobs in Austin, where her fiancé lives. Chandra is very excited about graduation, getting a job, and getting married. She says it feels like her life is starting—“Things definitely fell into place…I got lucky, very lucky.” In ten years she hopes to be living in Austin with her husband and a couple of kids. Her advice to younger students? She encourages freshmen to go get an associates degree at a community college and then come back to Tech for the rest of the coursework. She says to always expect the unexpected and take things as they come.

Josh Starkey

Josh has been a Tech student since the fall of 2014, and is graduating this May with a degree in mechanical engineering. He started as a petroleum engineering major, then switched to biomed, and then finally switched to his current major. Regarding his time at Tech, he says “I had a great time, it was a blast…some of the best years were made here and there’s a good community overall.” Josh has been interviewing with multiple companies, including NAVAIR and HollyFrontier. He is also set up for the officer candidate course for the marine corps in September, as he is interested in being a military aviator for the marine corps. He’s excited to be done with classes and school for a while, and he’s not particularly nervous. In ten years Josh hopes to have a good job, and herd either goats, reindeer, or long horns on his own ranch. He advises younger students to make friends early, make study groups, and take advantage of the OSL. He says doing work alone is 10 times harder than doing it in a group.

Haley Hilborn

Haley came to Tech in 2015 and is graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering this spring. She liked her time here at Tech, and appreciates how small and close-knit the Socorro community is. She likes the small class sizes and how she’s been able to have a close relationship with her professors. After graduation Haley is going to get a PhD, with either a robotics controls focus at Georgia Tech or a biomedical focus at Purdue. She has been accepted at both schools. She sees graduate school as an exciting opportunity for her, since a PhD opens up doors in both industry and academia. She likes research and teaching, and doesn’t want a boring 9 to 5 job. In ten years, Haley sees herself either in research, teaching, or industry. She advises younger students to make professional connections, be confident in yourself, always be on the lookout for internship opportunities, and be nice to people and smile.

Taylor Neal

Taylor has been at Tech since the fall of 2014 and he is graduating this May with a major in civil engineering and a minor in Spanish. For him the first year at Tech was rough because he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life and the drudgery of pre-req classes was tiring. But school became more and more fun as he began to enjoy civil engineering and Spanish classes and get more involved in community at Tech. After graduation, he is going on a summer mission trip to Colombia, using his civil engineering skills to build temporary structures for refugees fleeing Venezuela. In the fall he is starting a position at Smith Engineering, a company that focuses on structural and water resources engineering. Taylor is nervous about leaving the community he has found at Tech, but he is excited to have a consistent work schedule and be done with the drudgery of school and homework. In ten years, he hopes to be and engineer with a PE, maybe married with kids and a nice house. He says students should form study groups, and that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when they need it. “Don’t be afraid if you don’t understand,” he says.

--James Nolan

Hope Beyond Singleness

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