NNU has boasted a small, high-quality engineering physics program for the past 60 years, producing more than 300 distinguished graduates who have become national leaders within their industries. In 2009, NNU opened the new 50,000 sq. ft. Thomas Family Health & Science Center, which enabled the university expand its offerings to include a Bachelor of Science in Engineering.
The program started in August 2010 with 11 students and three faculty members and since that time has grown to 62 students and six faculty members. It includes concentrations in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and engineering physics. Twenty local and national engineering experts and business leaders from companies such as Micron Technology, Hewlett-Packard, Plexus, Aptina, SimplyLEDs, Intel, INL, Boeing and Lockheed-Martin have aided the program in establishing its directions and outcomes.
The first five graduates of this new program received their degrees on May 10 at the NNU Commencement at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. These accomplished students are Ben Gordon, Mark Horton, Seth Leija, Paulo Salvador and David Vinson.
Mark Horton is from Nyssa, Ore. He chose NNU primarily because of its small size, understanding the importance of individual attention and professor interaction. In addition to his time in the Department of Engineering, Mark was also involved in the Department of Music. He plans to pursue his dream of becoming a professional music composer, working at the interface of music composition and engineering.
Ben Gordon is from Oakridge, Ore. He chose NNU because of the close-knit campus community. One of his favorite NNU experiences was learning and serving on a mission trip to Jamaica. He is currently looking for work in the automotive industry, specifically with a small, creative company. Ultimately, he plans on starting his own small business or joining a start up. He is motivated largely by his lifelong interest in taking ideas and prototyping, testing and producing them.
Seth Leija is from Boise, Idaho. He wanted to go somewhere with an academic reputation and a Christian foundation, and NNU proved the ideal option. Relationships with friends and classmates both in the dorms and the classroom have contributed to his favorite memories of college. He has accepted a job as a firmware engineer at American Semiconductor Inc. in Boise.
Paulo Salvador is an international student from Brazil. He was looking for a school that would allow him to connect faith and the field of engineering. NNU caught his attention, and he knew he had found the school he wanted to attend. He cites faculty investment in his life personally and academically as one of the most rewarding parts of his time at NNU. After graduating, Paulo will work toward a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at University of Alabama, Huntsville.
David Vinson is from Elbe, Wash. He had good offers from several universities when graduating from high school, but NNU felt like the right choice and did not disappoint. Traveling to Peru on a Department of Engineering mission trip is one of David’s best NNU experiences. David has accepted a product engineering position at Micron in Boise.
The program’s ABET accreditation review is in October, and the graduation of its first class is an important step in the accreditation process. Once accreditation is confirmed, it will include this first graduating class and those to follow.