College is this weird transition from teenager to full-fledged adult where in addition to having to keep yourself alive without the help of mom or dad, you have to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life…which can be a daunting thought. However, I have found that the faculty here are supportive and actually get to know their students personally. When people ask why I love The University of Tulsa, I never hesitate to say because of the endless opportunities and support offered here. My experiences with the faculty, advisors and staff have shown their genuine desire for their students to succeed and grow as individuals.
This past summer my advisor emailed me about an on-campus job opportunity working in the McElroy Prototyping Lab in the mechanical engineering building, ensuring the safe and proper use of lab equipment. In this lab, students can use a variety of manufacturing equipment such as a drill press, a lathe, a mill, a horizontal band saw and a plasma cutter, and the only thing they need is safety glasses! The lab technicians are there to assist students in gathering hands-on experience in a manufacturing-like lab. For example, I manufactured the steel TU medallion to the right with the plasma cutter!
While working in the lab, I noticed a group of my peers working on a frame for a car. Being the inquisitive engineer that I am, I asked what they were working on, and they told me they were constructing a Baja car. Baja? I had never heard of Baja except for the popular Mexican food chain Baja Jacks. I inquired what Baja was, and they informed me that Baja SAE is an intercollegiate design competition run by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in which teams of students from different universities design, build and race small off-road cars which meet many design specifications. I was so intrigued by this competition that I asked if I could join the team. The team was eager to have a female underclassman and because I am 5’2, light, and have small shoulders, I am also being considered as a driver in the race, so for once, not a short girl problem!
I am thrilled to possibly be driving in the competition as I seek adventure! I have assisted the Baja team in grinding and welding the frame of the car together and we are currently working on mounting the engine and transmission. I love being able to apply the things I learn in the classroom to real-world projects. This year, the Baja team is traveling to Tennessee Tech to compete, and they have invited me to join. Working in the lab, I continue adding to my expanding knowledge of engineering with hands-on experiences and am able to assist others to increase their knowledge, as well.
So, what I love about The University of Tulsa is the countless amount of experience you can gain and clubs you can get involved in at any point in college. And if there is a club you want to start, the Student Association will provide funding once you obtain a charter. The University of Tulsa allows you to explore all of your interests and discover some you didn’t even know you had!