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Mike Foster
Graduated: 2002
Major: Engineering
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, George Fox University

mike fosterChoosing a Major
As his high school graduation drew near, Mike Foster did not have a clue what he wanted to do in college. Noting that Mike enjoyed science and math, a trusted physics teacher recommended that he give engineering a try. Mike followed his teacher's advice, and in engineering he discovered his vocational calling.

The Messiah Experience
Mike not only embraced the academic component of his major but also found ways to incorporate engineering into his non-scholastic pursuits. By spring of his first year, Mike hat gotten involved with Dokimoi Ergatai, a campus service organization that specializes in providing technological advancement for developing countries. Many engineering majors flock to DE because it enables them to apply their skills to service by building solar panels, designing wells, and aiding in other applied technology initiatives. Mike eventually led two service trips and became a director in DE. He didn't spend all of his free time wrapped up in engineering-related tasks, though. He played tuba in symphonic winds for two years, led a life group, and played intramural volleyball.

Mike also made use of Career Center services for real-world vocational experience. In addition to attending an engineering job fair where he was able to meet employers and get a feel for the opportunities in his field, Mike took the time to do a practice interview. "It was excellent," he asserts, in preparing him for professional interviews. Mike also sought resume assistance from the Career Center on multiple occasions.

"You get life experience," Mike says of college, "but at the same time, you get hands-on education." Mike went on a service trip to Africa and on another service trip through DE, and he believes that these experiences not only provided engineering training but also taught him to see the world in an entirely new way, from the perspective of a different country and different people. "It helped shape what I know," Mike says of his time at Messiah, "and realize how I think about the world."


• "God made you, God designed you."
• "If you find pleasure in what God has for you, that's where you need to be."
• "God wants the best for you."

What to Do Next
Through a class entitled "Principles of Management," Mike was introduced to the field of engineering management. He found that it effectively integrated his love of mechanical engineering and the leadership abilities he had sharpened through his role in DE. Deciding to pursue engineering management meant that Mike's career path would veer onto a course he had never previously conceived: graduate school. By his senior year of study, however, Mike was ready to keep going. "I wanted to see the last half of the book," he says, "the part of the book you sometimes don't get to in classes. I'd learned the theory-now I wanted to see the application." Now determined to continue his education, Mike enrolled at Drexel University.

A Typical Day
Mike's days primarily consist of research and spending time with his wife. His studies focus mostly on low temperature combustion, part of the thermal fluid sciences. He spends much of his time in modeling and experimental research, working with software programs and testing reactions.

A "Why" Moment
"It's the curiosity of nature," Mike says, explaining what draws him to engineering and keeps him interested, "wanting to know how things work." This fascination, combined with an appreciation for tangible creation, the desire to "see your work, see what happens when you put it all together," daily reminds Mike why he is an engineer.

Though Mike may or may not make it back to Africa for ongoing service there, he has identified ways that he can use his talents stateside to serve God and others. "I plan to serve by using my skills to help others wherever I can," Mike says. "I keep alert, looking for the opportunity to help."


Profile by Angela Kriebel, 2005


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