Posse Scholar Chris Machado ’20 (Worcester, Massachusetts) is currently participating in the Engineering Dual Degree Program at Washington University in St. Louis, as part of his goal to pursue a career in computer engineering.
Washington University in St. Louis cooperates with a select group of affiliated institutions to offer students the opportunity to earn a liberal arts degree from their current school and an undergraduate degree from the University.
Since Centre’s affiliation with the program began, 15 students have taken advantage of this opportunity.
The program provides students admission to both a 3-2 and a 3-3 option. Each results in an undergraduate engineering degree, but the latter adds a master’s degree.
“The dual engineering program entails a mix of liberal arts and engineering,” Machado said. “A student going through the program will earn a liberal arts degree, at their home institution, related to the type of engineering they are interested in studying. The student may complete their degree in three years or four, if desired, and then transfer to a partner institution, where they will finish the program studying the engineering subject of their choosing.”
Machado is studying computer engineering with other liberal arts students from across the nation. He will stay in the program for three years. During the first two years, he is aiming to complete a second bachelor’s degree. He also plans to complete a master’s program that Washington University in St. Louis offers in the third year.
“I have always been interested in technology,” he shared. “Coming to Centre, I even wanted to pursue a computer science degree. When the journey through college led me to consider a math degree in my sophomore year, I was really conflicted. Luckily, I knew about the program and determined that I would not be missing out on my technical education. In fact, I was closer to achieving what I wanted—an education in engineering.”
According to Machado, this opportunity allows students to expand their knowledge base.
“Despite my initial desire only being engineering, I have realized through studying math that there is a lot to be learned through liberal arts,” he explained. “It offers a unique type of critical thinking that I would not have been able to learn through a technical degree. You won’t just have one type of learning that most other students are receiving. I can now move forward with that knowledge and learn on top of it, something that will expand my knowledge even more. I believe this versatility will only add to my capabilities regarding my career.”
Machado said this experience means everything to him.
“You know the question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?,’” he added. “I used to answer that question with ‘a computer engineer.’ Finally, being in this opportunity after keeping it in my subconscious for three years at Centre is so relieving. I genuinely feel that this is the start of the career I want to build for myself, and I can use everything I learned at Centre to be that much more versatile in my future.”
Throughout the course of the program, Machado said he is looking to enhance his technical knowledge and skill sets.
“I dreamed that one day I will be able to understand the technological world to the extent that I could develop my own software programs and hardware devices,” he said. “I am also interested in seeing how my background in mathematics will impact my thinking in this new subject. Ultimately, I want to take all my experiences, from Centre and Washington, and enter the industry.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
August 1, 2019