Play disc golf at an 18-hole course within the peaceful wooded setting of Knollwood Park. Skateboard in the K-Zoo Skate Zoo. Sample some of the best full-flavoured, locally roasted coffee at Water Street Coffee. Take a bus to Bent9 and sweat out those toxins with hot yoga. Walk through the aisles of independent bookstores. Bask in nature and catch sight of deer in Winchell Avenue. Sounds like a dream? This is the daily reality for those who are lucky enough to call themselves Western Michigan University (WMU) students.
Situated in the creative hub of Kalamazoo, Michigan, the electric and eclectic city is merely an extension of the thriving community that exists in WMU. Home to “Broncos” from over 100 different countries, the university is relentless when it comes to their student-centred approach. Every decision made has the student in mind — from the university’s location to its unique offerings, like the state of Michigan’s one and only Construction Engineering programme.
Here, students are prepared not to just complete rigorous majors like Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management Technology, they are encouraged to discover themselves and find their purpose by award-winning faculty members such as Dr. Larry Mallak, a professor of industrial and entrepreneurial engineering and engineering management at WMU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
The result? 91% of Broncos stated that they felt instructors cared about them as a person during their time in university, with nine out of 10 being employed in their fields of interest. These notable achievements extend to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences as well, where over 97% of recent graduates have been employed or are continuing their education.
This individualised method is possible thanks to the resources of a large university within a small college setting. Though over 2,200 students attend WMU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, they still enjoy the benefits of a smooth transition from high school to college by being a part of a tight-knit community.
At the College, the best education possible starts by getting students involved in activities early. It’s an extraordinary journey, as the stories of these students show:
Elaine Chan, Malaysia
WMU accepts students as they are, which was the main reason why Elaine Chan accepted the Diether H. Haenicke International Scholarship offer to study a Bachelor of Science: Computer Science degree. “I thought that I didn’t fit the criteria of your standard award‐winning scholarship recipient. But WMU overlooked what I was, and took a chance on what I was to become,” the Malaysian tells Study International.
The decision is turning out well for her. “From a range of academic concerns to career advice, I’ve always been able to seek help from the faculty, be it professors or department chairs,” she says. “Most recently, I’ve also been shown immense support from the department regarding my motion to establish a new Google Developers Student Club at Western. Amongst their hectic schedule, they always seem to have time to spare for their students.”
Beom Kim, South Korea
“There were some factors that led me to choose WMU,” begins Beom Kim, another Computer Science major. “First of all, tuition is very reasonable. As an international student, the financial aspect for living in the US is one of the key factors in deciding to study abroad. WMU provides international students with resources to build careers and network in the US, such as internship opportunities and club activities.”
It was at WMU that the South Korean became a member of a club called the Western Aerospace Launch Initiative (WALI). Kim met a lot of kind people and gained the skills he needed to polish his Computer Science knowledge. Without the organisation, he would not have met like-minded individuals and majors of one of only two Aerospace Engineering programmes in Michigan, who share his love for the subject.
Santosh Nepal, Nepal
Santosh Nepal is a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering with Automotive Concentration at WMU. He arrived on campus in the fall of 2018 with a dream to learn, explore, and achieve success within the field of engineering in the US. “WMU has supported me since my first day here,” he says. “Being an international student, I was not confident during my freshman year because of the language barrier. However, all my professors, friends, and colleagues have been very helpful.”
Nepal is thankful for the opportunities he was given by the WMU Career and Student Employment Services and its career fairs. The stats prove this claim: 65% of recent graduates have had internships or cooperative education experiences prior to completing their studies at the college. “Many of my friends from all around the world have been able to get good internships and most of them have been able to get jobs in some good companies too. We can always choose our major based on our interests,” he says.
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