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Mechanical Engineering Program: Prepared. Successful. Well-rounded.

December 2011 | by Robin Youngblood


Those words also describe the students who will be the first graduates from St. Ambrose University's newest program: Mechanical Engineering.

Rolled out this fall, it is the only Mechanical Engineering program in the Quad Cities and one of only three in Iowa. With this new offering from the Engineering and Physics Department, St. Ambrose is preparing to become a direct competitor in that field with other public, Midwestern universities.

Mechanical Engineering is one of the broadest disciplines of engineering because it teaches mechanics, design, manufacturing, engines, research and mechanical devices.

But how does a Bachelor of Arts in Mechanical Engineering from St. Ambrose set students apart in the workforce? "The students graduating from our program will be better set for success," said Program Director and Professor, Michael Opar, PhD. "Someone with a liberal arts degree, with technical skills plus people skills, is the ideal engineer."

St. Ambrose already has a well-established and successful Industrial Engineering program-boasting a 100 percent job placement rate in 2011-but Mechanical Engineering will fill a niche specifically designed for municipal areas like the Quad Cities.

Already, word about engineering opportunities at St. Ambrose is spreading among area high school students. In September, Henry Petroski-a well-known engineer, Duke University professor and author-presented a lecture to area high school and college students on campus.

"Petroski's visit was important to the recognition of our program," Opar said. "When hundreds of students came to St. Ambrose to hear him speak, they learned that this was a place to learn engineering."

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