Christopher Jordan '14 of Taunton, MA, majored in mechanical engineering, completed a co-op experience at Protonex Technololgy, and looks forward to beginning his career as a mechanical engineer with General Dynamics. He served as co-captain of the cross country and track and field teams and as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the Outdoor Club.
How did your interest in engineering begin?
As a child, I was always interested in knowing how and why things work the way they do. I wanted to know what made things move, how they broke, and how to make improvements.
When the time came to choose a course of study, I thought a lot about what major would give me the best opportunity to continue my search for understanding. I chose to study mechanical engineering because it would give me that understanding and the skills necessary to solve any problem, while continuing to follow my passions.
What has been your experience working with faculty?
In the classroom, I’ve been fortunate to be able to dive into the tremendously vast sea of knowledge and experiences that the most challenging and dedicated instructors in the engineering program possess. Out of the classroom, I’ve also had many great experiences with faculty and staff members from across the campus.
Tell us about your co-op experience.
The importance of a good co-op experience cannot be stated enough. The summer after my junior year I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the people at Protonex Technology, a leading provider of advanced fuel cell power solutions for portable, remote, and mobile applications, out of Southboro, MA.
At Protonex, I worked in an exciting and challenging environment with amazing people. They were willing to go above and beyond their duties to make sure I got the most from my opportunity, while delivering on the responsibilities of my position.
Following the completion of my co-op experience, Protonex chose to sponsor my senior design project. This project has been a tremendous opportunity for growth while continuing to work with a great company. Being able to share the growth and experience I took from my co-op and capstone project with Protonex has given me tremendous opportunities for my future.
What are your plans following graduation?
Following graduation I'll begin my career as a mechanical engineer with General Dynamics and continue to challenge myself to improve every day. I also plan on starting a life-long journey of exploration in the most amazing places this world has to offer and continuing my pursuit of philanthropic endeavors.
How have you balanced the demands of an engineering major with campus involvement?
The additional challenges I've taken on have given me new skills and a great deal of varied experiences, which will help me continue to succeed in the future. I believe that with every challenge comes an opportunity. Without challenge, life becomes mundane—a life without opportunity. For this reason, I live for challenges.
Choosing to study mechanical engineering is in itself a challenging decision, but as someone who enjoys a good challenge, I’m always looking for more. This search for challenge has also led my pursuit of athletic endeavors. I’ve earned the title of co-captain of the Cross Country and Track and Field teams here at UMass Dartmouth.
Faced with the challenges to my time and attention, I try to minimize non-value-adding decisions, while taking full advantage of the time I spend growing and learning. There are only twenty-four hours in a day, and how they’re used makes all of the difference.
Having the right influential people around me has also been a key factor in meeting these challenges. One of the most influential people has been my fellow co-captain Zach Switaj, who is exceptionally bright and also a senior mechanical engineering student. He has helped me develop the habits needed to successfully manage and prioritize my time while still having fun. We've covered miles on roads and trails discussing and working through problems we’ve had in class.
What impact has your role as a student leader had?
In addition to my role as a captain of the Cross Country and Track and Field teams, I’ve also served as the President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and as the President of the Outdoor Club.
In these positions I’ve been responsible for developing and sharing the missions of these organizations. I’ve been able to meet and interact with many students, faculty, staff, and members of the community. Each of these people contributed in their own special way to my experience.
If I could pass on any advice to future students it would be to get involved and be active in developing your future. Doing so will provide the opportunities to turn dreams into realities, just as these experiences have for me.