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Dana Lucas
Dana Lucas

Dana Lucas '22

Mechanical engineering and physics double major

After meeting with engineering faculty here, I realized the importance of the small classes and the many opportunities to get involved hands-on in every class and activity I join.

Education

Mechanical engineering and physics 

Hometown

Seven Hills, OH

Becoming a Raider

My junior year of high school, I did a search for every school in Ohio that offered a major in engineering and I made an effort to visit each one. Mount Union was the last school I visited, but it made an impact on me that I hadn’t gotten from other schools. After meeting with engineering faculty here, I realized the importance of the small classes and the many opportunities to get involved hands-on in every class and activity I join. At a larger school, you may be left watching others complete the lab work, but here you get to use every piece of equipment, which allows for a greater understanding of engineering concepts. With a nice balance of net-tuition cost, academic and extracurricular opportunities, and the possibility of forming meaningful relationships, Mount Union quickly became one of my top school choices. I received the Trustee Scholarship as my merit scholarship from Mount Union. Additionally, I applied for over a hundred outside scholarships my senior year of high school, some of which I have received. There are plenty of opportunities to reduce the value of Mount Union's tuition down to a reasonable amount.

A Second Home

It’s amazing to walk around campus and run into multiple people I know. Also, professors don’t mind if you stop by for a few minutes or an hour to say hi and get to know them. In fact, they encourage it and want to form a meaningful relationship with you. These relationships I have with professors and other students really bring a positive atmosphere to the classroom. I believe that if I’m able to form a comfortable relationship with my classmates and professors, the content of the course is automatically more enjoyable since I’m able to engage in the class instead of having to listen to a dry lecture. Everybody makes me feel so welcome around campus and being surrounded by people who want to see me succeed makes Mount my second home.

Tips on Choosing a School

Visit as many colleges as you can; even the ones you don’t think you’d ever attend in a million years. I say this because Mount was one of the last universities on my list before I went on a college visit here. You cannot judge a school by its website or by what you hear from friends or family. When looking for a university, you really want to search for an atmosphere that will foster positivity and active learning. Try looking into schools that are all very different and see what fits for you. Additionally, once you get accepted into your university, don’t stop looking for ways to put yourself out there. Network as much as you can, get to know people, and start narrowing down on some career goals, that way those you meet along your college journey (professors, job recruiters, peers) can better help you succeed and find what you love to do!

Career Path

I once won a model windmill kit in a conference raffle, and I was super excited. The guy who handed me the kit made a comment that he’d never seen anyone so happy to receive something so atypical before; it’s usually the electronics and sports gear people get pumped about. I’ve always been enthusiastic about anything that relates to engineering. Growing up, I attended various summer camps and library programs where I was introduced to the emerging STEM field. I grew to love the challenge of figuring out how to solve a problem, whether it was with programming robots or fixing something around the house that was broken. I chose to pursue mechanical engineering because it not only provides me with a challenge, but also allows me to see a project come together from start to finish, leaving me with something that I can look back on years later and say “Hey! I made that!” Physics complements engineering very well, providing a more in-depth, technical side to many concepts, and programming, which is becoming a larger part of the physics program here, is always a good skill to have in the field today.

Being Involved

This summer, I interned in the Industrial Coating Systems division of Nordson Corporation. I worked on everything from performing tests on our equipment to designing test fixtures, which gave me an opportunity to delve into many parts of the engineering field. At Mount Union, I am given plenty of opportunities to further expand my knowledge in and out of the classroom. I was able to participate on our Baja SAE team as a freshman and make major contributions that many upperclassmen at other schools may never get the chance to make. It’s opportunities like these that truly make Mount Union exceptional. Before coming to Mount Union, I was very much an introvert and my communication skills were not quite where I hoped they would be. With the help of the presentations I do in many of my classes, I am starting to become more comfortable with presenting in front of a variety of people. In the field today, and especially for science majors, it is important to know how to communicate results, otherwise the results become worthless. Mount Union has helped me achieve these communication skills and is continuously allowing me to branch out of my normal areas to become a well-rounded individual.

Plans after Graduation

When I graduate, I hope to become an engineer in the automotive or aerospace field with the opportunity to travel across the country. At Mount Union, I have been able to take some classes outside those required for mechanical engineering, such as a programming course and enough physics courses to consider adding the major. I have enjoyed using 3D modeling and programming software during my time here, and each additional concept I learn gives me a better idea of what I want to do in the future and what I want to stay away from.