College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

About students, by students (Part II)

(Editor’s note: This is the second installment in a series of student profiles written by students in JLMC 321, Public Relations Writing. Our thanks to the authors, to senior lecturer Erin Wilgenbusch, to the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communications, and to the subjects. Read the first installment.)


Bruno Orticelli

In five years at Iowa State, Bruno Orticelli has managed to take advantage of every opportunity and accomplish as much as possible while working toward his concurrent civil engineering and MBA degrees.

“He has a diverse background of professional engineering experience, student leadership, and business practice,” said Roger Bentley, manager of student and alumni professional development in Engineering Career Services.

Orticelli started by filling his college career with three internships. He got involved early by working for an engineering consulting firm in Kansas City. “My project manager showed me how engineering and business careers meld so easily and that a dual degree would lead me to many opportunities,” said Orticelli. The following year he assisted a civil engineering professor in research at Idaho State University. The past two summers he has interned with Des Moines Water Works, where he worked on projects such as developing the company’s greenhouse gas database and designing a rain runoff plan.

Orticelli, who is originally from Brazil, also was the president of the Brazilian Portuguese Association for two years. One of his other favorite organizations was Freshmen Leaders in Engineering. “Iowa State has amazing opportunities for students to learn and grow their leadership skills,” he said.

But of all of the experiences Orticelli has had, attending school in Edinburgh, Scotland, stands out the most. “Studying abroad was probably my favorite experience in college and I tell students that studying abroad is a must in your college career,” he said. In fact, this helped him decide his area of emphasis in environmental engineering. “While in Scotland, I took a sustainability class which got me interested in future water issues around the globe,” he said.

Orticelli, who will be graduating in the spring, is unsure of what his future has in store. “As my old boss predicted, I have many different careers that I could follow with my dual degrees and the choices are making it hard, but in the end I will find something that fits me right,” he said.

— Afton Holte

Alyse Herr

Swanse, Wales. London. These are just two of the places Alyse Herr has traveled for her education.  Every summer, Herr packs up her things and gets ready for another internship with General Mills. Each time she is offered a new location at which to train, and so far she has had the opportunity to spend the summer in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Her membership in the Society of International Engineers has also allowed her to assist other traveling students to get adjusted when they visit Iowa State University’s campus.

Herr’s major is agriculture and biosystems engineering (ABE). Growing up on a farm in Iowa, she was active in 4-H and FFA.  She enjoyed helping on the farm, and with her propensity to excel at math and science, getting an education in ABE seemed like the logical thing to do. Herr appreciates the relatively small number of students in her college. It has made it easier to get to know everyone on a personal level. “Everyone wants you to do well and succeed,” she said.

Herr is no exception.  She teaches an orientation class for freshman that introduces them to the college and allows them to transition from high school more easily. She gets to meet with six of them on a regular basis a few times a week to help them with any questions or concerns they might have. She can point them in the direction to get the help that they need with school, or just give advice about the things she has encountered in her own journey at ISU. Her advisor, Susan Ziegenbusch said, “I appreciate her reliability and sincere concern for the welfare of her advisees.  She is an exceptional role model for our younger students.”

With upward of 17 or more credits a semester, and all the traveling, Herr still has time for other extra-curricular activities. As the secretary for ASAB, she gets to help plan trips for group members to visit various plants. The next trip will be to St. Louis, so other students can visit companies such as Monsanto and Anheuser Busch.

— Beth Barrick

DJ Soults

DJ Soults has always been interested in airplanes and computers, so it is only natural that he has such a bright future in Iowa State’s aerospace engineering program.

Soults, who is from Vienna, Virginia, and also majors in French, said, “I didn’t even know I was interested in engineering until my junior year of high school when I started taking physics and realized I really, really liked it.” He went to an Air Force JROTC boarding school, which had a flight program. “I flew airplanes my junior and senior year and soloed before I graduated,” he said.

Tom Brumm, professor in charge of online learning, described Soults as “innovative” and “a leader.” Soults has proven his leadership by becoming an officer his senior year of high school at the Air Force JROTC program and the president of Eaton Hall his sophomore year at Iowa State. He is currently the president of AirPad, a student organization that he started during the summer of 2010.

AirPad, which stands for “Aerial Imaging Reconnaissance Program for Agricultural Development,” is a research and outreach program aimed at helping farmers get a bird’s-eye view of what their farmland looks like in order to help them produce better crops. Currently the organization is trying to fit a plane that will be optimal for the task at hand.

As far as his future is concerned, Soults said, “My goal at this point is to find a job at an aerospace engineering firm where I can sometimes use my foreign language skills.”

— Bobby Sit