Brian, a Nebraska native, began pursuing his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with the Fulton Schools of Engineering while living in Arizona. At the same time, his wife was offered a promotion within her company and they relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, where they currently reside. Brian chose to pursue his studies as an online student, as it gave his family the flexibility to relocate. “The online program leaves the freedom to complete your studies anywhere that has internet, so we were free to move to a new location without impacting my schooling.”
Prior to starting at ASU, Brian had tried to go back to school at a traditional campus, but was unsuccessful. He put his dreams on hold while forced to choose between being a full-time student and maintaining an income to support his family. He notes that many other ASU Online students have a similar story. “It is great to see so many people finally have an opportunity to change their lives without jeopardizing their family’s financial well-being.”
Brian has worked in the electrical construction industry for nearly 15 years. He has served as an apprentice electrician, journeyman electrician, foreman, general foreman, and superintendent of electrical projects. He has worked in many environments – large industrial, gas & oil field, medical, commercial, residential and service work, as well as being a National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) certified teacher for electrical apprentices. While his background makes him well-suited for an engineering firm that does design-build, Brian hopes to intern in another area of the electrical engineering discipline to experience something new.
Brian’s vast experience in industry and teaching has made him an excellent Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UGTA) for the Fulton Schools of Engineering. He explains that his professional experiences “have all been critical in my path to becoming a successful communicator and teacher.” Brian has served as a UGTA the last three semesters and will continue in his role this spring semester for FSE 100: Introduction to Engineering. His duties as an online UGTA include monitoring the Piazza question platform and providing guidance to enrolled students who have questions about the class, both on the message board and via email. This summer Brian also created a formula sheet that is now used as a project document for the FSE 100 final project, which helps the students understand how to apply the formulas in order to build their prototypes.
Brian says his experience as an UGTA has been rewarding. “I enjoy the feeling of knowing I helped someone form a better understanding of something.” While Brian does not intend to pursue a career in teaching, he has added the UGTA experience to his résumé because it demonstrates that he has both the aptitude to learn the material and the interpersonal skills to teach the material to others. “By serving as a UGTA I have been afforded the opportunity to make meaningful changes within the ASU Online program, specifically to the FSE 100 class. All of the professors I have worked with are innovative and like to hear new ideas. I have implemented many of my ideas. By serving as a UGTA you get a chance to not only receive a stipend, but to help mold the ASU Online program.”
Would you like more information about becoming a UGTA? Visit https://engineering.asu.edu/ugta/.