University of Southern Indiana
Engineering student working on a robot

Why Engineering at USI? Students share their experiences

Kelsey Likens

Kelsey Likens ’20

Hometown: Boonville, Indiana
Electrical Engineering

I was a junior in high school when I began thinking seriously about what I wanted to study in college. I've always liked math, and I have an interest in computer science, so engineering seemed like a good fit.

I considered three colleges, all in Indiana. But I fell in love with USI when I visited the campus. I like how it's close to the city, but still at a distance. I'm from a small town, so I’m used to things being spread out. I knew for sure I wanted to enroll when I sat in on a freshman engineering class that was working on a Rube Goldberg project (chain reaction machine). I joined the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Robotics Club my freshman year, one of several engineering clubs on campus. That same year USI won first place in the IEEE autonomous robot run. We competed with about 40 other teams, many from much bigger schools. The following year we made it into the top four.

There are plenty of opportunities at USI to get hands-on experience outside the classroom. I've used what I learned to help with a robotics competition that USI sponsors for middle schools. Making the extra effort to get involved has helped me through the difficult semesters. And the engineering faculty is great—some of my favorite people are USI professors!

I want to understand how to get more out of systems so machines use less power. I'd like to see the world, so my dream job will come with lots of travel. I know it's out there—my education at USI gives me a great start for finding it.

USI student-built UNITE CubeSAT

Wyatt Helms

Wyatt and a team of USI engineering students designed and built a CubeSat for NASA; it was deployed into orbit in early 2019.

Wyatt Helms ’19

Hometown: Alfordsville, Indiana
Mechanical and Electrical Engineering

"I think USI has one of the best undergraduate engineering programs anywhere—and it's practically in my backyard." - Wyatt Helms ’19, Presidential Scholar 

I come from a family of engineers—both my dad and brother studied engineering. When I was growing up, we raised cattle. I helped on the farm, working on equipment. I like thinking of new things and solving problems.

USI was my choice because I knew the engineering program was good and the school was only 90 minutes from my house—I could get home quickly if I ever needed to. Plus, I was fortunate to win a USI Presidential Scholarship—a big financial help.

A high point of my time at USI has been participating on the UNITE CubeSat team. USI received a $200,000 grant from NASA to design, build and operate a satellite. I got to work on the communications and power systems, and I served as the team lead for three semesters.

I've learned that engineering isn't something you do entirely on your own. You're always on a team. And the faculty here is amazing. I've gotten to know some of my professors really well, like Dr. Diersing, who brought me into the electrical program. We share a love of coffee—and the Cincinnati Reds.

My USI education has already opened a door for my career; I've accepted a full-time position as an engineer with Crane Naval Base. I'll be working in the antenna design and testing branch—and working with some of the same colleagues that I worked with here on the CubeSat.

Contact Dr. Paul Kuban


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