James Shaffer II '18
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Navarre, Ohio
Member of the UMU Baja Team and Engineering Club
Future Aerospace Engineer
Road to Mount Union
Mount Union was a choice because I was in search for a university that had an engineering program and that was close to home. I choose to attend Mount Union because the engineering program had goals for their students that reflected the same goals that I desired. I also was interested in the program because it is in its pioneering stage and incorporates innovative ways of thinking.
The characteristic that I like most about Mount Union is the small class size which provides an excellent student to faculty ratio. This allows for students to interact more with the professional knowledge base that we have here at Mount Union. It feels most like home because of the hands on learning environment. I have grown up a hands on learner, studying at a hands on university allows me to excel in anything I put my mind to. There are many characteristics that sets Mount Union apart from other universities and colleges for me, one of which being a liberal arts school that would mold me into a well-rounded individual in the career of my choosing. The people that helped me adjust to college life the most are my friends that I have had since day one. We have shared common interests from the start and to this day we still share those same interests and challenge each other to keep excelling in our endeavors.
Engage with Professors
The advice I have to offer to prospective students is to make sure that you engage with your professors. Here at Mount Union, the professors want to get to know their students. They want to share their professional knowledge to help you succeed. I also encourage you to get yourself out there and talk to someone new, as you will find out it is easy to find something in common with someone that you are just meeting for the first time.
I choose mechanical engineering as my major because I have always been fascinated with how machines work and what makes them run efficiently. I have worked on many experimental learning opportunities, both inside and outside of the classroom. The opportunity that I am looking forward to this upcoming summer is a Co-Op position with PCC Airfoils LLC, who manufactures jet turbine components. Mount Union’s mechanical engineering program provides an endless list of hands on learning, that directly correlates with the theories that are learned. My favorite experience has been stress and strain testing which combines concepts learned in material science and mechanics of materials. The laboratory experiments tested the strength and yielding properties of a material which are dependent upon the molecular structure of that same material. I have also been able to apply some of the hands-on techniques I have learned in the classroom into direct applications for my motorcycle carburetor using fluid mechanics.
My favorite class is Material Science because material selection is a very important aspect of engineering and it is interesting to learn how different molecular structures of materials determine the properties of a material and how that particular material can be made stronger. I enjoy working with all of my professors but if I have to narrow it down, there are still two professors left. Dr. Hans Tritico, is one of my favorite professors. There are many reasons to why but the most important reason to me is that he is one of the first professors that I visited with when I was still in high school and visiting with the engineering department. When I started at Mount Union I was not sure if I wanted to do Mechanical Engineering or Civil Engineering and Dr. Tritico provided professional advice to help me make my decision. He also provided advice to help me achieve my goals that I had set for my underclassmen years at Mount Union. Dr. Osama Jadaan is the other professor that I have chosen as my favorite professor. He has influenced my path of success by always encouraging me to perform professionally and do exceptional things. The way that Dr. Jadaan teaches his classes is a format that I connect with very well and I learn efficiently from. Most importantly he attaches the theory being learned to practical, real world applications. This is valuable because it helps the students connect the problem at hand to the theory needed to solve the problem presented to them after graduation.
The benefit of combining a liberal arts education with professional education is that the overall education produces an individual with a degree that demonstrates a well-rounded individual who has knowledge in not only their major but in several other areas of study. I think that my experience with the Integrative Core will make me a better professional because the integrative core expresses oral and written presentation and this correlates directly with engineering. For example, an engineer can have an excellent mind but if the engineer cannot communicate his or her ideas, what good are those ideas?
My ultimate career goal is to be an engineer for John Deere. Mount Union is preparing me for that by providing an engineering education that is both hands on and a focus on communication skills. The result is a program that produces individuals that are well-rounded graduates.
Mount Union is preparing me for that by providing an engineering education that is both hands on and a focus on communication skills.
- What is your favorite travel destination?
- Hocking Hills
- What is your favorite quote/motto?
- “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
- What three songs define your music tastes?
- “The Only way I Know” by Jason Aldean. “I'm to Blame” by Kip Moore "Record Year” by Eric Church
- What's your favorite app?
- My favorite app is Safari because at any moment, I research any subject and educate myself with new knowledge.
- What's your favorite holiday?
- My favorite holiday of the year is New Years because it marks a new year and new goals.