Q&A: Leo Edwards Exceptional Work Ethic: The Key to Overcoming Challenges


05/16/2023

Leo Edwards, a soon-to-be graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from St. Ambrose, has always been passionate about becoming an engineer. As he prepares to walk the graduation stage, we sat down with him to reflect on his journey to St. Ambrose and the opportunities he has seized along the way.

Q: How did you choose St. Ambrose?

A: I wanted a small school where I could pursue engineering and also continue swimming. I also wanted to be somewhat close to my hometown of Washington, Illinois, near Peoria. For some people the sports come before the academics, but I am different; I definitely wanted to swim, but the engineering program was most important to me.

Q: Tell me about the experiential opportunities you had while here at SAU?

A: I was so fortunate. I just completed a summer internship in Kansas City as a Nuclear Mechanical Engineering Intern with a company called Black and Veatch. In the past, I also interned at JF Ahern as a Fire Protection Design Intern. The best part of both of these experiences was the hands-on experience I got. I got to apply what I learned in school right away, and I also met my future co-workers because at the end of the summer, Black and Veatch offered me a job for their engineering development program.

Q: Wow! That's great. Can you tell us more about that role?

A: For sure! The engineering development program will allow me to rotate through three different job roles every year for three years. I'll get to work in different departments and gain hands-on experience in areas such as power, water, and other sectors.

Leo Edwards


Leo, a soon-to-be graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from St. Ambrose, has always been passionate about becoming an engineer. As he prepares to walk the graduation stage, we sat down with him to reflect on his journey to St. Ambrose and the opportunities he has seized along the way.

Q: Do you have any stand-out professors that helped during your time here?

A: Oh, it's hard to pick just one because all of my professors were supportive and provided one-on-one attention when I needed help. They all helped me overcome challenges and succeed in my coursework. The attention and support I received from my professors would not have been possible at a larger school.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge?

A: I have dyslexia, so things have always been harder for me to learn. For instance, it probably took me twice as long to understand that two plus two equals four.

Q: And now you are going to be a successful mechanical engineer. That must feel pretty amazing.

A: Yes, my mom has always been a huge advocate for me. During my freshman year, my mom kept telling me to go to the Student Success Center. She said, ‘I don't care if you don't think you need any help, just go and book an appointment.' I took that advice when I entered Chemistry, a subject that I had previously not done well in. The Success Center really helped me out. So in my sophomore year when I was offered the opportunity to be a math tutor, I immediately said yes. I am now also a Math Lab leader.

Q: After all of these experiences, what is your biggest takeaway from your time at St. Ambrose?

A: I'd say the biggest life lesson is that working hard is going to bring you to places you never expected to be. Ten years ago I could barely do a math problem and now I'm a math lab leader, graduating with a mechanical engineering degree.

News
news

At SAU, hard work = recognition. Here is a list of full-time students who were named to the St. Ambrose University Dean's List for the Fall 2023 term. These students earned a GPA of 3.5 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).

Read More About Fall 2023...

News
Celtic cross on St. Ambrose Campus

This is a turbulent time for higher education, both nationally and here in Iowa. Students, families and state leaders have questions about value, relevance and trust

Read More About Catholic Higher...

News
news

Legacy families are not new to St. Ambrose University. There are many family trees whose branches are laden with proud Ambrosians, but the limbs of the Henkhaus and Gannaway trees are especially ripe with St. Ambrose history.

Read More About A Thousand...

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? Click on the visit button below to learn more about our virtual and in-person visit options.