Michaela Goff always knew that Texas A&M University was the place for her even if the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department wasn’t on her radar when arriving as a freshman. She has since jumped straight in and is now the President of the ASABE Student Club.
What drew you to Texas A&M University?
I’ve known that Texas A&M was the school I wanted to go to since a young age. As I researched other colleges and universities, I noticed that the Aggie network was something that was very real, and not just some term thrown around by university recruiters. The connections made between Aggies seemed to actually carry on beyond college and into the work force. It also didn’t hurt that the ring not only helped others recognize that connection, but looked pretty sweet too. Naturally, I didn’t apply anywhere else.
Why did you decide to study Biological and Agricultural Engineering? What interests you about BAEN?
I have to admit that Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAEN) was not on my radar when I first came to Texas A&M. At that time, I was leaning towards Civil Engineering, but I was not entirely decided on it either. But after taking freshmen level classes that would easily have hundreds of students packed in a room at a time, the idea of a smaller department became increasingly appealing. I found that the BAEN department was one of the smallest, which fostered a close-knit community amongst the students that were in it. I also knew that I was the type of person who learned best from “hands on” instruction. The nature of the course material and size of the department meant that the amount of “hands on” opportunities were far greater than most of the alternative options for engineering. At the end of the day, what engineering major could better line up with the Agricultural and Mechanical University of Texas?
What clubs are you a member of and why?
Like everyone else, I looked for organizations that would help boost my resume and that is how I originally became involved with American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). But this organization, basically included the entire BAEN department and allowed students to grow even closer together through extra-curricular activities and service events. I quickly learned that the organization was a wonderful way to help develop our new students and helped everyone be more involved with their department. The organization became much more than just a resume booster and I decided that the best way to give back to them and the department was to become more involved with the leadership aspect of it. I am very lucky to have found others with the same mindset and goals for the organization that work very hard to ensure that ASABE continues to grow and provide excellent opportunities for the future engineering students that it will come to serve.
Have you been abroad? Tell me about your experience.
One of the benefits I received from joining ASABE, was the awesome opportunity to go abroad. This past summer, myself and some other friends from ASABE attended the University of Guanajuato in the form of a reciprocal Mexico Exchange program. It was a very enriching experience that engrossed me in their culture by allowing us to stay with very kind and gracious hosts. Since the culture was their own, they were the best qualified to show us the real culture and not just what a typical tourist passing through would have the chance to see.
Have you done any internships? Tell me about your experience.
I was an intern at Ward, Getz & Associates (WGA) this past summer, a civil engineering consultation firm in Houston, Texas. I had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects and tasks. During my internship, I learned how to use many new types of programs. By using these programs, such as AutoCAD, for example, I created several hydrologic models that I now see in my hydrology classes. What I enjoyed most about the internship was seeing the real world application of material that until then, I had only seen in class.
What do you want to do when you graduate? Why do you want to go that direction?
I want to work at a civil engineering consultation firm (preferably with a focus in hydrology) because I really enjoyed the work I did at my internship. Even though I may work on similar projects from time to time, no two projects are ever exactly the same. I rather not get stuck with repetitive work because I would never be challenged, able to learn, or even develop myself as an engineer. Civil engineering consultation gives me that opportunity to do all that. Above all, few things are more satisfying than seeing your ideas manifest themselves from concept art to real physical structures.
Since you are ASABE Student Club President this year, tell us a little about your plans.
I have been a member of the organization since 2015. During that time, only about 10 or 15 people would attend meetings. Since then, it has been one of our primary goals to increase student involvement. In an effort to do so, we moved meetings to Scoates 208. Our first meeting in Scoates had about 70 students in attendance. We have continued to increase participation and have emphasized freshmen recruitment while keeping our current and older members engaged. Over the past two years, it has been my personal mission to be sure that freshman not only know about ASABE, but also the entire department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.
One of the goals of the organization for 2017-2018 is to beautify the planter outside of Scoates 208. The goal is to turn the planter into a memorial for Dr. Faulkner. The current plan is to remove the rocks and add dirt, plant thorn less rose bushes, and erect a plaque. Once the project is approved by the campus grounds manager we will be seeking volunteers to help us build this memorial.
Article by Jessica Schaeffer.
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