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Chemical Engineering Student Makes College History

June 18, 2018
Two men pose for photo at graduation ceremony
Engineering Honors graduate Brandon Wilde, left, and Chemical Engineering Professor David Bagley pose for a photo at the college graduation ceremony. (Photo courtesy Brandon Wilde)

Brandon Wilde has always embraced a challenge, and his tenacity led him to accomplish something historic for the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS).

Wilde, who studied chemical engineering at the University of Wyoming, became the inaugural graduate in May from the Engineering Honors Program. The program was established in fall 2017, and combines the same opportunities already offered by the University Honors Program with additional coursework in Engineering Honors curriculum, Engineering Honors independent study, Engineering Honors scholarship and Engineering Honors distinction upon graduation.

“I transitioned from a UW Honors program minor to an Engineering Honors major in my last year, just as this new system was being introduced,” he says. “This was a great supplement to my experience and education at UW.”

Wilde came to UW via Worland, Wyo., thanks in part to a substantial academic scholarship. He had his eye on an engineering degree and knew about UW’s reputation for strong programs. He chose chemical engineering as his path, and put in the time to be a successful student.

“It took a lot of work and more all-nighters than I can count, but I feel like it was worth it, since I now have a valuable degree, with which I can make a significant contribution to society,” Wilde says. “I particularly appreciate those professors who held very high expectations for their students.

“Even if it made maintaining a good GPA or even passing the class seem difficult, the benefit was worth it. I came away from those classes confident in my understanding of the material and more confident as a future professional engineer.”

Wilde was an active member of the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) at UW. He worked on a dormitory construction project in Kenya for nearly three years, as well as a water resources project in Guatemala for a year. He credits those experiences with allowing him to develop broader perspectives and make impacts on the well being of others around the globe.

His work in the Engineering Honors Program also was a boon to his education, as it provided the opportunity to delve deeper into his areas of interest and receive additional resources to participate in independent research and explore off-campus experiences.

“One requirement—and benefit—of the Engineering Honors program was the stipulation for participation in study abroad prior to graduation,” he says. “This compelled me to take a J-term UW-led course in Costa Rica. Because of grant availability, it did not place undue burden on me, and I was able learn from a new perspective.”

Armed with his UW degree and experience in the Engineering Honors Program, Wilde has sought to find more challenges. He recently moved to Philadelphia to continue his job search in the area of environmental engineering, along with international and nonprofit work.

“I intend to continue volunteering with Engineers Without Borders, and take advantage of any career-furthering and perspective-broadening opportunities that may come my way,” Wilde says.

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