John Stuart, a 2014 Pedrozzi Scholar, just finished his third year at UC Berkeley and is diving into his passion for engineering:
My junior year can be summed up as a time of accepting uncertainty, exploring careers, and finally finding my real passion. At the start of my fall semester I was uncertain about my long held goal of becoming a structural engineer that I had never once questioned. I had fast tracked my way through all of my introductory structural mechanics classes but was coming to realize that I was really overlooking every opportunity to learn about other careers. Thus, I decided to spend my junior year taking as many different classes as I could to broaden my experience. From concrete, to concrete (yes there are actually multiple concrete classes in Civil Engineering) to airport design, to systems optimization, hydrology, zoology, and more, I spent this year trying to truly figure out with an unbiased mind what I want to pursue a career in.
As luck would have it, it did not take me long to discover a field I was instantly intrigued by and passionate about studying more. Going by many names such as building technology, enclosure consulting, and façade engineering, it is effectively the engineering of a building’s skin (as opposed to its skeleton, which structural engineers design) with the goal of controlling the flow of light, heat, air, and water. Fusing aspects of architecture and engineering which I had always wanted to do but never realized could ever be combined in a single career, I soon applied to and was selected for an internship at Simpson, Gumpertz, & Heger which does exactly that.
Finally, right after spring semester ended, I began my internship at SGH in San Francisco and since then I have had the most incredible summer. By day three I was put on a project to help design the roof of what will soon become the second tallest building in San Francisco and by now I’ve already played a role in dozens of projects throughout California in all of SGH’s practice areas of design, investigation, and rehabilitation of buildings. All of that coupled with the excitement of spending every day in the Financial District of San Francisco have made this the most eventful summer I have ever experienced.
Next year I look forward to finishing up my studies at UC Berkeley and applying to graduate programs in façade and building systems engineering with plenty more interesting classes on the horizon to enjoy. Having led my fraternity as its Treasurer and Brotherhood Chair, I will soon be taking on the role of Professional Development Chair to hopefully help my brothers in their professional endeavors through all my past experience. Finally I am looking forward to enjoying senior year with all the friends I have made along with way as we all figure out where we’re going and maybe, just maybe, actually figure out how to even be adults in the end of it all. We’re on our way there, and for me, I think this year was the biggest leap yet.