Summertime Standouts: Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

Patrick Brown, mechanical engineering

Studying fluid mechanics against the backdrop of Rome, Italy might be an engineer’s dream, but with the major’s rigorous course load, studying abroad can be difficult to fit in. Mechanical engineering student Patrick Brown didn’t let his jam-packed course schedule get in the way of a five-week visit to Rome earlier this summer. In fact, he used his study abroad experience as an opportunity to take a class required for his degree: fluid mechanics.

Patrick Brown, student
Patrick Brown studied fluid mechanics in Rome, Italy this summer.

“I’m on a four-year track to earn my mechanical engineering degree, and that means taking summer classes just to stay on track,” Brown said. “It made sense to study abroad over the summer and get a higher-level engineering course knocked out at the same time.”

Brown studied at John Cabot University, taking fluid mechanics from a professor who happens to teach at Colorado School of Mines. At CSU, the fluid mechanics course is typically tailored to each engineering discipline. The course Brown in Rome took combined concepts from different disciplines, providing a comprehensive overview of the discipline. The setting of the class also had an impact on how course material was presented.

“The professor tied the city into his class, so he used examples from around Rome,” Brown said. “There are Roman fountains there that supply clean drinking water, and we did a problem where we calculated the pressure and other factors that were needed to run the fountains.”

Despite completing a rigorous course in just five weeks, Brown still made time for exploring the city, visiting popular landmarks like the Trevi Fountain and Vatican City (including a visit from Pope Francis). After the course ended, he traveled to other European countries, including Greece and Switzerland. Brown’s study abroad experience is something he doesn’t take for granted, and he would do it again if given the chance.

Zori Oberle, biomedical engineering

Atop Mount Roberts, about 1,800 feet above downtown Juneau, Alaska, lies the Mount Roberts Nature Center. Visitors from all over the world can take a ride on an aerial tramway to reach the top and explore the area.

Zori Oberle, student
Biomedical engineering student Zori Oberle is giving tourists a taste of Alaskan nature this summer.

Biomedical engineering student Zori Oberle was raised in Alaska and leads the two-and-a-half-hour “Tram, Town, Timberline Trek and Tea Tour” two days a week. She takes tourists on a bus ride through Juneau, up the tram, on a nature hike, and finally to an alpine tea house where the visitors can try local Alaskan teas.

“My favorite part is definitely the people,” Oberle said. “I get to meet new people every single day on tours and in the Nature Center, hear how their trip is going, and share in their excitement.”

This is Oberle’s second summer working for the Nature Center, and despite the rainy weather in Juneau, she appreciates the change of scenery during the summer months. In the fall, she’ll head back to CSU campus for the third year of her five-year biomedical engineering degree program.

Inspired by her AP Biology teacher in high school, Oberle discovered biomedical engineering as a discipline prior to her college search. She liked the dual degree program the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering offered, and a visit to campus made selecting a university an even simpler decision.

“On an unofficial tour to campus I visited the Scott Building, and there was a student there who was in her fifth year of the biomedical engineering program. She was telling me about her experience and it really resonated with me and I thought, ‘oh, I could really see myself doing this,’” she said.

In the future, Oberle could see herself pursuing a few different career paths: teaching engineering, working in a hospital or with doctors at a biomedical engineering firm, or making biomedical equipment or artificial organs. With the help of her summer job, she’s developed a taste for travel, and hopes to find a position in the engineering field that will allow her to travel around the world.