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Engineering Students’ Spring Break in the UK Helped Apply their Studies Across the Sea

March 22, 2024

By Chloe Laszlo '25

Over spring break, Mount Union’s engineering students went on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to London and Bradford, England where they engaged in various cultural and learning activities that exposed them to the world of engineering abroad. After a trip to the United Arab Emirates unfortunately fell through, Dr. Loay Al-Zube, associate professor of engineering at Mount Union, used his international connections to put together a trip that his students could both learn from and enjoy.

The students were able to tour facilities like the Diamond Light Source, a large particle accelerator located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxford where scientists research subjects ranging from jet engines to viruses.

Through this tour, Alex Rudolph ‘25, civil engineering major, was able to see what he learned in the classroom applied right in front of him, saying, “[It] was particularly fascinating to me because I am also a Physics major along with my civil engineering degree, and many of the concepts studied in physics were integral to the function of the accelerator.”

Like Rudolph, Kevin Zurbrugg ‘25, engineering major, was surprised to find that he was able to apply his understanding of physics to the real world.

“The physicists and operators explained the process with physics that we mostly​ understood, which made the whole thing very digestible and made all of the learning we've done seem more useful than I thought,” said Zurbrugg.

Students also visited the University of Bradford where their local peers showed them around the campus and gave them insight into one of the first accredited biomedical engineering programs in the UK.


Emily Borroni ‘25, biomedical engineering major, who was especially excited to see the University’s various BME offerings, said, “It was amazing to see Bradford's facilities and talk with their faculty members about biomedical engineering and their experiences in the field.”

“Having the opportunity to observe the similarities and differences between the programs at the University of Bradford and those here at Mount Union was very revealing about the ways that engineers in each society adapt to the environment that surrounds them,” said Rudolph.

Aside from tours, the students were divided into groups that changed each day and explored various parts of the city. Because of this, every student was able to take away their own unique experience.

“My favorite part of the trip was our visit to the village of Haworth,” said Zurbrugg. “The village was quaint, the scenery was pleasant, and the shops were cute. Absolutely the highlight of the trip from an enjoyment standpoint.”

Students were given the chance to not only explore London’s culture, such as riding the underground tube, visiting Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the massive Westfield London Mall, and trying various authentic cuisines, but they were able to learn more about each other and interact with classmates they otherwise may not have.

"The remarkable professionalism and engagement displayed by Mount Union engineering students during this trip deserves recognition," said Al-Zube. "Our hosts at the University of Bradford and the Diamond Light Source were particularly impressed, as they repeatedly commended our students for their professionalism and active participation. The students' eagerness to ask questions and their genuine interest in learning about diverse cultures and engineering practices left a lasting impression. This achievement speaks volumes about the exceptional training and mentorship provided by Mount Union, contributing significantly to the success of our students."

Thanks to Al-Zube and his students’ flexible attitudes, they enjoyed their time in London, where despite it being a backup trip, they were able to learn more about themselves, more about their field outside of the classroom, and come back with experiences they will carry with them beyond graduation.

“Connecting with professionals from across the pond truly enriches our perspective as engineers,” added Al-Zube. “This eye-opening experience has undoubtedly left a lasting impression on all of us.”

To learn more about the engineering program and opportunities at Mount Union visit our School of Engineering page.