When researching which college to attend, Jacky Mathews of Plainfield, Ill. was particularly impressed with what she heard during a campus visit about the new Viterbo University engineering major from representatives of local employers who supported the creation of the program.
“They talked about how they wanted to hire Viterbo engineers because the graduates they hired in other majors were great employees and people,” she said.
Mathews will graduate from Viterbo in May with a double major in engineering and applied mathematics and analytics. A member of the university’s first cohort of engineering students, Mathews has already accepted a position as a product engineer with Trane in June. She has had a paid internship with the company since fall 2019.
“I’ve appreciated that the engineering program is hands-on, has small class sizes, and has curriculum and other connections to businesses in La Crosse,” said Mathews, who is also a member of the Viterbo softball team.
As part of her Viterbo education, Mathews is involved with the HAWK WORKS capstone initiative. She and her team, which consists of students from a variety of majors, are working on a project titled Element Health. They are working to redesign a bike for Bethany St. Joseph that will improve the user experience for both rider and driver. Another group is working with the Mississippi Valley Conservancy on PFAS water and soil contamination testing on French Island.
“It’s been a great experience,” Mathews said of HAWK WORKS.
The internship with Trane has also been a key highlight of her education.
“It’s rewarding to see the little things I can do to help my co-workers and see my work and contributions actually put into practice,” she said. “That’s exciting.”
Mathews is looking forward to starting her career with the company in June.
“I love Trane and hope to work there a long time,” she said.