Henry Cho: Dual major in writing and mechanical engineering

Henry Cho '16 views the challenge of a dual major the best decision he ever made.

Year: Class of 2016
Dual major: Mechanical Engineering & English: Writing, Rhetoric & Communication
Hometown: Rehoboth, MA
Internships: Including MicroMagnetics & WGBH
Next steps: Career in mechanical engineering

Dual major: writing and mechanical engineering

I was a journalism major at another university. I had thought about minoring in either physics or engineering to get some knowledge, as I was considering becoming a science/technology reporter. When I transferred to UMass Dartmouth, my plans became uncertain, because I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to find a career with an English degree.

I decided to enroll in the mechanical engineering program because I felt the discipline would provide me with the broadest knowledge of engineering skills. I was accepted after my first year here, but I didn’t want to withdraw from the English program.

I knew it would be a difficult challenge to be a dual major, but it was the best decision I ever made.

Help with the early challenges of engineering

I had to take calculus and physics classes here before being accepted in the engineering program. I had only taken math classes as high as pre-calculus and hadn’t taken a physics course since high school.

The tutoring centers at UMass Dartmouth helped me get through the early challenges of the engineering program. The engineering faculty was always there to help with questions about assignments or projects. Many of my classmates were also helpful because we all faced the same difficulties. We all wanted to succeed together.

Student employment: visual journalist

I’ve been creating various videos for more than three years, promoting the Office of Undergraduate Research, Honors Program, and the College of Arts and Sciences. I really enjoy interviewing students and faculty about their interests and accomplishments and helping promote the university.

I incorporate a lot of journalistic aspects into many of the videos. I try to tell a compelling story in all of the videos I help create.

I feel creativity connects my work making videos to English and engineering. Regardless of the field you’re pursuing, I think having that characteristic will propel you into a more satisfying career with unlimited possibilities.

Writing skills lead to internships

A lot of my professional experience, including my four internships, is due to my writing.

My first internship was working for State Representative Elizabeth Poirier. I wrote press releases, helped research bills, and answered questions from constituents.

I interned at WPRI in the sports department, helping film highlight footage of high school and professional games, and film and edit footage for interview segments.

I began an engineering internship working for MicroMagnetics in Fall River. My primary tasks included assembling products such as sputtering devices and annealing stations and editing CAD files to some of their components. I was able to use my writing skills to write manuals and calibration procedures.

The Feature Story and Article Writing journalism courses I took at UMassD helped me get an internship at WGBH. I worked for Morning Edition host Bob Seay, writing copy for the headline segments.

Future in engineering

I can still see myself in the science writer/journalist field, but my primary focus is engineering.

Many engineering companies are looking for applicants with excellent written and verbal communication skills—skills I know will give me an advantage over other engineering candidates.

I would like to find a job that concentrates on engineering mechanics or manufacturing, but I enjoy all aspects of engineering including electrical and bioengineering. Technology has really accelerated the advancement of medicine, and I want to be part of that discovery.

Writing will always be a part of my life. Whether or not I can incorporate it in a profession, I will always try to perfect my writing.

More information

College of Arts & Sciences: Writing, Rhetoric & Communication

College of Engineering: Mechanical Engineering


College of Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering, Features - Commencement, Features - Internships