Brinlee Finzel wasn’t quite sure about her major until she found herself in Haiti during the summer after her freshman year. She watched as a group of local women returned to their village with large buckets balanced on their heads, and was told they walked five hours each day to retrieve clean water for their families.
Finzel decided on the spot to change her major to mechanical engineering, and to pursue a career in clean water. “I recognized this was a push from God to steer me in the right direction,” she explains.
That dramatic turning point is still etched in her memory, and she’s excited about her future in engineering. Meanwhile, she appreciates the great friends she has made during her four years at SPU, as well as the example of professors such as Daniel Keene (who has a gift for explaining complicated principles in simple terms) and Melani Plett (who organizes get-togethers for women engineering students).
“I am very satisfied with my experience in the Engineering program,” she says. “We are fortunate to have small classes, which allow for more hands-on activities and more personal relationships with professors. I made lifelong friends and will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world because of my education.”
She also values the real-world experience she gained as an intern at the West Point Wastewater Treatment Facility, and more recently at a local environmental engineering firm, Brown and Caldwell. That company sponsors Water for People, a clean-water non-profit, and organizes overseas trips to work on water projects in developing countries. Finzel hopes to eventually serve as a project manager or client service manager with the company, and wants to join more trips with Water for People.
Ultimately, she has seen her faith grow during her four years in the program, and she has come to realize that her way to worship God is through service. “By studying engineering and pursuing a career in clean water,” she says, “I feel I am following through on what God has called me to do.”