Student Spotlight: Edie Kocher-Cowan
Edie Kocher-Cowan first learned about engineering through her dad, a chemical engineer.
Before her senior year in high school, she developed her interest while attending a summer camp called Women in Engineering at Michigan Technological University, where she was exposed to the various engineering fields and participated in problem-solving activities.
“I was really drawn to mechanical engineering because there were two mechanical students showing us their senior projects. One made a robotic arm, and the other made a bicycle that could store excess kinetic energy in a battery. I thought both projects were really interesting,” she said.
Kocher-Cowan selected College of DuPage for its strong Engineering program.
“Because College of DuPage is a two-year school, I received a lot more opportunities for hands-on experiences. I was able to help design and build two robots and competed in the Midwestern Robotic Design Competition at UIUC, where we won an award for our robot, and the NASA Robotic Mining Competition at the Kennedy Space Center. Both competitions helped me gain real-life experience working with others and working in the manufacturing lab.”
She also liked the smaller class sizes at COD, the cost and the fact that it was close to home. In addition, she took advantage of opportunities outside of the classroom, such as being part of the Engineering and Technology Club.
“It was the place where you get real engineering experience, and we had the Technical Education Center as a wonderful resource,” she said.
Kocher-Cowan is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University, which has a substantial engineering population. Her career goal is to work with robots.
She believes College of DuPage is a place that offers many opportunities, and she continues to take advantage of them, having returned over the summer for welding classes.
“My advice to students who are considering engineering is to find a group of people to work with on a regular basis. That is a huge help with your studies,” she said. “Also, take a manufacturing or welding class of some sort. I am using this hands-on experience to be a better engineer.”
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