In 2007-08, when the recession struck, I was one of the lucky few who landed a good job immediately after obtaining an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. I held on tight as jobs were scarce at the time. During the three years I spent in the professional world, I repeatedly questioned the decision though. There was always a longing to expand my knowledge in my area of interest, which happened to be very specific: Energy Engineering from a Mechanical Engineering perspective with focus on environmental impacts due to energy generation. A research into the best universities that offered this type of combination course ended at the Mechanical and Energy Engineering (MEE) Department at University of North Texas. I was very excited since the course offered was a perfect fit for my interests. In 2010, I boarded my first international flight to start my journey with UNT.
At MEE, UNT, I was fortunate enough to be a part of Dr. Kuruvilla John’s research group. Our research focused on air pollution in the Dallas Fort Worth area, while my course work covered Energy Engineering related topics. Apart from academic reinforcement, the MEE dept. and UNT provided numerous opportunities for leadership and participation in several skill development activities that molded me on a professional level. During my time there I was awarded as the outstanding graduate student for two years in a row. I was blessed enough to represent UNT in an International Case Study competition in Denmark conducted by Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturing company. My team was the underdog and we were competing against some of the greatest minds from Harvard and Stanford. But like history has proved many times, the underdogs survived and won the competition, marking UNT’s footprint in another part of the world.
These opportunities and trainings prepared me to apply and secure a leadership position with Kohler Co, world-leaders in the plumbing industry. I started off as a Mechanical project Engineer and in just under 2 years, became the New Product Development Project Manager, a jump that ordinarily takes 7 – 10 years. In this position, I currently manage both domestic and international projects. Some of my projects secured awards both internally and externally. Today, I am PMP certified and currently pursuing an MBA to further develop myself. Looking back at those late nights and long days at UNT, I can’t help but feel thankful towards my Professors Dr. Kuruvilla John and Dr. Srinivasan Srivilliputhur, and the MEE department for pushing me to achieve more than I thought I could. They realized my potential and invested time and effort in me. Their efforts played a tremendous role in getting me to where I am today. As an alumnus, I have strong faith in the MEE dept., that it will play a great role in molding a good future for the current and future students of UNT.