Meet Ben Smith

Ben Smith

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Major: Computer Engineering

While in high school, I was looking at colleges that were both a fit for my collegiate track and field interests, as well as my interest in engineering. Once accepted into SPU’s Engineering Program, I went on to join the track team at SPU, and I don’t think I could have done that without my high school track coach, Scott, believing in me as an athlete.

Scott was immensely influential in my growth to believe in myself. During the physical and emotional challenges I faced, he never wavered in his support for me and my well-being. In my hardest moments (with my home life and athletics), he always steered me to live for today and to just be my best version of myself right now, right here, in the moment.

I was not sure which flavor of engineering I wanted to pursue, but SPU offered the best of both worlds for my endeavors. After touring the campus, getting a tour of Otto Miller Hall from Professor Bolding, and meeting with Coach Karl Lerum, I felt it was a good place to invest my future in.

The Junior and Senior Design programs were the most enlightening for my understanding of how engineering works in the real world. The academic culture certainly afforded its time and place for my growth, but being able to creatively implement a solution became my anchor in why I love engineering. Being able to exhibit my education within an avenue of freedom felt liberating and in the truest sense, fun.

I was also challenged by the SPU curriculum to think for myself and to objectively consider why faith must be under my ownership.

The entire ECS staff was supportive and encouraging throughout my years at SPU. There was a culture of utilizing the gift of engineering for our greater good, and through that gift, there was a responsibility to do your very best. I felt empowered by Professors Bolding, Plett, Peters, Tindall, Arabian, Dingler, Johnson, Weltz, (and more, I’m sure) to trust in my engineering capabilities as an individual.

Currently, I work at the Walt Disney Company as a lead software engineer. Most of my daily work consists of architecting backend infrastructure and software development solutions for Disney’s online properties. My teams all work behind the scenes to ensure a “magical guest experience.” I have worked on a large variety of teams and projects over the last seven years, including online support services with ESPN, ABC, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Disney Parks, Hulu, and National Geographic. I was also very fortunate to be on the Disney+ launch team.

What I feel separates SPU from other engineering programs was the afforded inspiration to give back to our community and our planet. The ability to “engineer” is a powerful gift that is not to be underestimated, and the greatest use of this gift is to give back to those around us.