University of Minnesota

Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Student Profile

Name: Rusty
Anticipated Graduation Year:

How and why did you choose your major?

Choosing a major is a difficult decision coming to college. High school surveys try and try again to tell you what majors best fit you. The only connection I had with those surveys was engineering fields. Honestly, I did not have much interest in any engineering field coming to the U; I just wanted to work in the outdoors, and maybe go into farming and agriculture. Then, as I was sitting in the BBE 1001 course, I was opened up to the Environmental and Ecological Engineering major. I had never thought I would find a major that would so perfectly tie into my passions. I love the outdoors and this major is able to tie the outdoors and engineering together. Being able to be an engineer and not have to be in an office at a computer or in a lab is about as good as I think it gets for me.

Please give a description (in your words) of your major including the things you learn, favorite classes, and any challenges you have faced.

The Environmental and Ecological engineering field to me is a major that is growing in our department. The things you learn in the upper level courses after you get through your general prerequisite courses are much applied. Engineering is not easy by any means. The courses in this department really can specialize into where you want to take your engineering talents into the outdoor world. I am taking classes that pertain to agriculture because I seek to keep my connections to farming. There are also courses that are useful in urban areas and reconstructing wetlands. The basis and most interesting part of the major is that it ties engineering into the ecosystem that we live in and tries to maintain or better the quality of environment around us. Many of the classes to develop systems that can help a location return to its natural functioning ways. To me, that is awesome.

What types of experiences outside of the classroom have you had relating to your major? (i.e. clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, study abroad etc.)

Many of my experiences at college tie back to my major because it fits so well with my hobbies and interests. One of the clubs I am in is ASABE, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. This clubs is where you connect and spend time with the students in the EEE major. Another involvement I have is I am the Vice President of FarmHouse fraternity. Being a part of the fraternity, I learned a lot about the different perspectives that students have about the environment. Some of the guys in the house are Agriculture majors and I am able to have educated discussions about the impacts and benefits of agriculture. Also, at the same time, I am teaching them new information about the natural biological systems that I learn about in class. A job that I currently have is a research assistant for a professor in the department. This job is the best job I have yet to have and it is pretty much like an internship because I am working with up and coming research studies and thought processes that are developing in the agricultural world. I have been doing a lot of field work taking water samples, sediment measurements, erosion assessments and many other very applicable things to this major.

In your opinion, what is one thing, or one piece of advice that other students pursuing your major should know?

One piece of advice is to get involved with what your interests are and within the EEE department. Getting connected with the professors in the department will not only help you while in college but could also be a big stepping stone into finding that job you really want. Also, being involved helps you socialize and meet other students. It can be much easier to get through your engineering homework assignments if you are doing them with others in your class. The EEE major is a somewhat newer and up and coming department. Research is the best job to get during school for the EEE major. It will also look very good on a resume because experience goes a lot further than just what you learn from the books.

Center for Academic Planning and Exploration

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