(Editor’s note: This is the fourth 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 Part I , Part II and Part III.)
Like most high school students, Kate Lindley started off not knowing what she wanted to do when she graduated. During her sophomore year, that all changed.
“I was really unsure,” Lindley said. But then, “I took a materials science class and it intrigued me. I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Lindley grew up in a town just outside of Kansas City. She had never considered going to a college out of state. She knew she wanted to study materials engineering, but did not know where. Then her brother suggested she look into the engineering program at ISU. After visiting the campus, her decision was easy. This was the place for her.
“We get a lot of hands-on research that other engineers don’t get,” Lindley said. Her time at Iowa State has given her opportunities she could not find anywhere else. One of them is through the Material Advantage organization at Iowa State.
Iowa State’s chapter is one of 73 throughout the nation. The organization consists of about 50 active students. Lindley is currently serving as president. Recently, 31 members traveled to Houston for the national convention. The organization received its seventh consecutive award for most outstanding chapter of the year.
Materials engineering is not the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think about engineers. Lindley wants to change this. “We are at the foundation,” she said. “Everything is made of something. You can change the smallest thing and create something else.”
Being away from home can get hard at times. Lindley finds comfort in her friends. The engineering community is very close. “They are like family,” she said.
From a young age, Chris Lopez knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up: an astronaut. What started as a common childhood dream has led him to Iowa State, where the sophomore in aerospace engineering hopes to follow his ambitions all the way to NASA.
A Chicago native, Lopez, 21, originally planned to attend South Dakota State University to pursue a degree in aerodynamics. Plans changed, however, after a move to Sioux City put Iowa State on the radar. Lopez learned of ISU’s world-renowned aerospace engineering program, fell in love with the campus, and never looked back. “I wanted to be an astronaut as a kid and aerospace engineering is the next closest thing. Plus, the ISU campus was nicer,” said Lopez.
Lopez’s passion for engineering sparked an interest in Team PrISUm, ISU’s student-run organization that designs, builds, and races solar cars in competitions across the country. The team spends more than a year on each car and races the finished product every two years in the American Solar Challenge. This year’s race in June was noteworthy for the team as it marked the 10th race since the team began in 1989 and Team PrISUm’s 20th anniversary car, named Anthelion. The team competed against 12 others in an 1,100-mile, eight-day challenge stretching from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Chicago.
As last year’s outreach director, Lopez helped plan events for the team and organized opportunities for solar education throughout the community. “PrISUm members hope to show students what is possible if they stay committed in school, and also showcase the possibilities of electric and solar power in transportation,” said Lopez.
Currently, as the assistant business director for Team PrISUm, Lopez helps with fund-raising, writing proposals, and managing the team’s money, and assists with recruiting new members in preparation for the 2012 American Solar Challenge. Outside of school, Lopez enjoys being active, spending time with friends, and watching ISU football.
Lopez’s dream remains to work with NASA and maybe even go into space one day. When it comes to his future, the sky is the limit.
— Michele Fredregill
Evan Stumpges was excited to get out of California and experience life in the Midwest for the first time. He left Pauma Valley, a small town just north of San Diego, to pursue his career in mechanical engineering at Iowa State. His friend’s mother owned a house in Ames, so having a place to live made it easier to choose ISU as his destination.
Now a junior, Stumpges has dedicated much of his free time to Team PrISUm. This past summer, Stumpges was one of the four drivers for the team, which qualified and finished 11th out of 17 teams that registered for the 2010 American Solar Challenge.
“We had some electrical problems; otherwise, we anticipated a better finish,” Stumpges said. PrISUm’s best finish came in 1999 when their car, Phoenix, came in fifth place.
Stumpges, who works in the PrISUm offices for about 30 hours a week, is directly involved in almost every aspect of the project. Stumpges joined the PrISUm organization when he was a freshman. In his second year, Stumpges spent time redesigning the website. The team leader liked what he had done with it and made him the team’s media director. His role involves maintaining the website, blogging during the races, and producing a newsletter called “The Sundial,” which is sent to all the team’s sponsors, including companies like Boeing and Harlow Aerostructures.
This is Stumpges’ third year in the program and he has branched out to leading the suspension division on the mechanical team and the solar array division on the electrical team.
“It provides a great hands-on experience beyond the in-class theory,” Stumpges explained. He enjoys the opportunity to work with students from a variety of majors and learn things that he might otherwise not be exposed to. One of his favorite parts about being on the team is “seeing everyone’s expression while driving down the road at 50 mph in a car powered by the sun.”
He is looking forward to summer 2011 for a track race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500.
— Danny Haugo
Most people go through a normal college experience of deciding on a school, getting a major, passing their classes, and graduating. Junior John Solomon took an atypical approach when coming to Iowa State University three years ago.
As a native of Boone, Iowa, Solomon knew he wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, pursuing a career in materials engineering, which led him to one of the best engineering schools in the country.
Before even entering his first term at Iowa State, Solomon applied for Freshman Leaders in Engineering (FLiE). As one of the few freshmen accepted, Solomon explained he was offered a plethora of leadership and development opportunities. Wanting even more, Solomon then moved on to become apart of the executive board as president of FLiE.
Solomon currently is co-president of the Engineering Student Council, where he works as a liaison between the students and the College of Engineering dean to promote collaboration between student organizations. Solomon also organizes outreach and service events to promote engineering to the Ames community.
Becoming involved is important to Solomon. His advice is to take on a leadership position that will challenge you to learn new skills or make you step outside your comfort zone.