Behind the Scenes - Undergraduate Engineering at Duke University

Senior Reflections


Welcome to Episode 007 – Senior Reflections, where we take our time interviewing a number of seniors who, in the midst of a stolen senior year, reflect on their cumulative Duke experiences. All of these engineers have something unique and important to say, and while they are only a small subset of the Pratt class of 2020, we hope their voices will speak for everyone.

Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.     

– Yvonne Woon

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Episode Contributors

This weeks episode of This Engineering Life features reflections from six seniors, as well as a Pratt Professor, from whom we hope you’ll learn from them as much as we have:

Christina Li – Senior ECE/CS Major

Christina graduating with both an ECE and CS degree. After graduation, will be spending time in Washington working as a Software Engineer for Microsoft. She talks about learning from the great people around her, and how she has learned that she doesn’t need to hide behind a facade and that she can succeed even more so when she stays true to herself.

Chris Orrico – Senior Mechanical Engineer

Chris is graduating with a ME degree, Energy Engineering minor, and Global Engineering Development Certificate. His plan is to go to grad school for nuclear engineering in either the Netherlands or Switzerland. He talks about learning self-reliance and self-taught-learning though his time at Duke, and the positive effects that has had on his life.

Kate White – Senior Civil Engineer

Kate is graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering. After graduation, she will be working as a Building and Restoration Engineer. In her time at Duke, she speaks about learned that focusing on effort and personal understanding is superior to focusing solely on grades

Jack Dozier – Senior BME/Pre-Med Major

Jack is graduating with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. He will be taking a gap year and then going to Medical School. He talks about how learning to strike a balance in different parts of his life: academics, socials, and personal well-being has been something he will take with him and put to use in the rest of his life.

Tim Skapek – Senior Mechanical Engineer

Tim is graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and he will continue working in his recent startup Protect3d. He says that learning and practicing resiliency as well as focusing on the things he can control as opposed to those he can’t has been a major Duke take-away. He has also enjoyed translating class topics to real life experience.

Mihai Cimpruieru – Senior Mechanical Engineer

Mihai is graduating with a Mechanical Engineering degree, as well as the Aerospace certificate. He will continue his studies as a PHD student at The University of Michigan. He talks about choosing to find an initial balance between interests and his own capabilities. Try to begin as many as you can, but eventually narrow it down to give your best interest 100%.

Dr. Neal Simmons – Professor of the Practice in the Department of MEMS

Neal is a Gendell Family Associate Professor of the Practice, Professor of the Practice in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative at Duke. He is also husband to This Engineering Life Co-Host Dr. Becky Simmons. He speaks from his experiences and perspectives about the senior class of 2020.

View Bonus Audio Clips

Bonus Audio Clips:

Jack Dozier Interview:
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Tim Skapek Interview:
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Mihai Cimpruieru Interview:
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Kate White Interview:
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Christina Li Interview:
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Chris Orrico Interview:
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