Ryan McChesney

Mechanical Engineering, December 2009

I graduated from Batesville High School in Batesville, AR, in May, 2005 Entergyand began college at Arkansas Tech University (ATU) that fall. Engineering had always interested me a great deal, so I was certain that I wanted to be a Mechanical Engineer. Early on I had little difficulty with the coursework, but as I progressed into my second year I became discouraged. I struggled in my second year to find direction, but after joining Sigma Phi Epsilon in the spring of 2007, I made more friends and met older engineering students that provided advice, helping me find direction. I continually improved as I progressed in my college career, but as graduation approached, I was not certain what my next move should be. The fall of 2009 was the height of the great recession and most students were having difficulty finding a job. However, I was lucky enough to be offered a Mechanical Engineering position with Lockheed Martin, the worlds largest defense and aerospace company. I worked on the Patriot Missile Defense program for the next two years, completing a number of projects. In the summer of 2011, I left my position to begin work towards my PhD in Materials Science at Missouri S&T. I completed some work as a researcher, but never settled into my role in academia for a number of reasons. With no clear path forward, I made the difficult decision to leave Missouri. During my time at ATU, I had made a number of friends who now worked at Arkansas Nuclear One. Taking their advice, I accepted a nuclear operations position at the plant. I am still working toward a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Missouri S&T while in Arkansas, and hope to finish soon. In the future, I hope to start a company of my own but am not sure what that will consist of. I know that without the friends, faculty and staff that helped me get my start at ATU, nothing that I have or hope to accomplish would be possible.