As part of the William Jewell College Dual-Degree Engineering program, Erika Storvick, senior physics and mathematics major, will attend Columbia University in New York to study mechanical engineering after graduation, May 12.
The Dual-Degree Engineering program allows students to receive a Bachelor of Arts from Jewell and then spend two years at a partner school to obtain a Bachelor of Science in engineering. In addition to Columbia, Jewell partners with Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Vanderbilt University and the University of Kansas.
“When I first considered dual-degree I saw Columbia and said ‘No way, Ivy League, how am I going to pay for that.’ But after a push from my parents and my professors, I realized not only did I want to go there, but I am capable,” said Storvick.
She looked into financial aid options and talked to Daniela Marin, current Class of ’19 dual-degree student at Columbia, and began to set her goals.
“While realizing it is going to be difficult, I am so excited to submerge myself in a different culture by being at a large school and being in the heart of New York City,” said Storvick.
Storvick is looking forward to the opportunities that Columbia and the city will bring her, such as potential internships and research opportunities. She hopes to continue her education at Columbia in their master’s program after her two years in the undergraduate engineering program. Their masters program is one year, and students can enter it directly if they show success in the bachelor’s program.
Storvick’s interest in engineering has its roots in her family. Her dad works in civil engineering, and her grandpa worked in nuclear and chemical engineering. They both encouraged her to pursue engineering, but she didn’t know what area of the field she wanted to study.
“When I had to decide which path to take, I decided to go with mechanical because it seemed to encompass almost every other field of engineering in some way. I would say it is one of the most multifaceted disciplines of engineering and with that comes a lot of opportunities for future work,” said Storvick.
While her family originally sparked her interest in engineering, she attributes her success in the field to her individualized liberal arts education.
“If I were to attend a larger university as a freshman, I think I would have been more likely to switch majors because of a minor setback such as a bad test grade or because of the hundreds of people surrounding me with no guidance. At Jewell, it is easy to have personable relationships with professors, and it is easy to get help as long as [you’re] ambitious enough to seek it,” she said.
She sees the value in not only personal relationships and support received from her professors but also her personal growth while at Jewell. A liberal arts education taught her skills beyond engineering.
“Jewell has made me the well-rounded individual I am by giving me the chance to be a student, an athlete, a leader and a critical thinker all at once,” said Storvick.
In her time at Jewell, she has been a member of the women’s soccer team and University Innovation Fellows as well as president of the Society of Physics Students and Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. She has also participated in various physics projects, like teaching children in Guatemala to make their own solar powered lanterns and an experiment that tested how temperature and composition affect the flow of fluid in weightlessness.
“I have been presented with many inspiring opportunities,” said Storvick. “The fluid dynamics experiment I worked on last year introduced me to the endless opportunities that the field I am in has. Being a member of University Innovation Fellows has also inspired me to find a way to mix my creative and innovative style with my engineering background.”
Storvick isn’t sure what her plans are for after Columbia.
“I believe this is what drives me to keep learning,” she said. “I know that I will find my passion, and just because I am unsure of my career path at this moment, doesn’t mean I won’t find it…Hopefully my time in engineering school will guide me to finding my passion.”
Photo by Talia Zook.
*A previous version of this article was published incorrectly identifying Daniela Marin as William Jewell Class of ’17.