Hometown: Kirkland, Washington
Major: Mechanical Engineering
I went back to school later in life to find a career that felt more meaningful and purposeful to me, so my values aligned well with SPU.
My path has been anything but linear. About six years ago, I was working in Hawaii as a landscaper for a company that I one day hoped to own. Ever since getting sober 12 years prior, this had been my goal, and considering the trajectory of my life up until that moment, it had been a noble goal indeed.
It wasn’t until I spent a summer in Guatemala, helping a family build a solar-powered water heater for their property, that I found myself excited and fascinated again about the work I was doing. While there, I designed and installed a system that was both sustainable and useful. It was then I realized I possessed some previously uncultivated scientific and mathematical aptitudes.
This realization spurred my decision to walk away from landscaping and go back to school to become an engineer. I became motivated to do my part in addressing the many complex global issues we face today. I started my academic journey at Cascadia College to complete my prerequisites before ending up at SPU’s Engineering Department.
I explored other schools before landing on SPU, but what sold me on SPU was the warmth and kindness of everyone I interacted with and the seeming dedication to serve others.
An SPU professor who made a lasting impression on me is George Roe. To this day, I still consider George a mentor and a friend and have consulted him in my professional life on a few different occasions.
He was an adjunct professor whom I met through an informational interview someone suggested based on my interests in renewable energy systems.
After that initial meeting, I ended up doing an independent study with George, where I got to investigate electrical and thermal load profiles for Galena, a small town in Alaska. After that, I got an internship at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) where George was a research professor, and he ended up being my direct supervisor for my project. I spent that summer working under George and conducting a feasibility study to integrate nuclear microreactors into the grid of a small utility in Valdez, Alaska.
Currently, I work for a company called Pallet, which manufactures rapidly deployable shelters for displaced populations. We have deployed over 100 communities across the U.S. for people experiencing homelessness.
My role is a mechanical design engineer, and I design new products, address engineering changes on existing products, conduct testing, analyze energy efficiency, and research new and innovative ways to serve more of our unhoused neighbors. My life experiences, combined with my education at SPU, have led me to a career where I feel I am truly making a difference in the world.