by Nick Gagliardi
He entered college looking for a challenge. This year, he will be graduating from the University of Connecticut with a degree in mechanical engineering, professional internship experience, and presidential accolades of his engineering honors fraternity. Timothy Fekete, a senior mechanical engineering student, may want to continue looking for that challenge.
Graduating as valedictorian of his high school, Tim claims that his pursuit of engineering had no correspondence to his academic strengths. “I was a pretty well-rounded student in high school. Unlike typical engineers, I didn’t have clear cut strength in math or science,” he said, “I picked engineering because it was a challenging major that would serve me well in a variety of careers.” A quick look at Tim’s academic career would reveal that the engineering path has, indeed, served him well.
Tim has been the recipient of both the Walter M. Rose and the Robert W. Strickland endowed scholarships; he is the president of Pi Tau Sigma, an international Mechanical Engineering Honors Society; and has completed an internship with Sikorsky Aircraft, where he worked on the complete redesign of composite airframe structures. In addition to his busy schedule, Tim is also a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), as well as an active volunteer with the UConn Engineering Ambassadors.
Currently, Tim is in the beginning stages of his eight-month senior design project, working with a South Windsor-based engineering firm, Capewell Components. The small engineering firm is a recognized designer and manufacturer of Aerial Delivery and Life Support solutions to the U.S. military and humanitarian operations around the world. Designing and manufacturing all of their own support systems, Capewell has enlisted Tim’s team of three, including seniors Justin Silluzio and Donovan Walsh, to conduct an impact analysis of military air drop platforms that considers a range of landing conditions. In order to complete this project, Tim and his teammates will utilize a variety of resources provided by the School of Engineering. “UConn provides great tools and materials that the customer doesn’t have, such as expensive licenses to certain computer software that will help in our research and analysis,” said Tim. However, this will be no easy task. “Once we find our results, we will have to derive the equations by hand to fully represent our findings to Capewell, since they will not have the software to utilize our findings,” he said, “It’s going to require a lot of calculations, thinking, and consideration.”
Tim, who attributes his academic success to the approachable and knowledgeable faculty, recommends that engineering students connect with a professor they can enjoy, respect, and admire. “I have a great deal of respect for my professors, and I truly appreciate the effort they put in as teachers, advisors, and mentors. I would not be the student I am today were it not for the influences of my academic advisor, Professor Tang, my honor society advisor, Professor Brice Cassenti, and Dean Mun Choi” he said.
Tim will prepare to enter the job market after graduation, with sights on a graduate degree in the near future. “I’ve always wanted to pursue a graduate degree, I’d just like to decide what I want to focus on, first,” he said. As he continues to explore the vast field of engineering, opportunities are seemingly endless.
Tim’s only struggle now, will be finding that challenge.