University of Minnesota

Mechanical Engineering Student Profile

Name: Dylan Rainer
Anticipated Graduation Year:
Hometown: White Bear Lake, MN

How and why did you choose your major?

The possibility of innovating new technology and using that to help people and raise the standard of living are the driving force for me in mechanical engineering. I was inspired in 10th grade during the History Day report on "Somebody who changed America" where I studied Nikola Tesla. Tesla was brilliant, and used his skill to invent technology that changed the world. He was truly selfless, and deeply cared about everyone. I have the desire to emulate Tesla, and use the skills I gain in college to help people. Combining my interest in technology and my desire to help people is something that will be with me my whole life.

Please give a description (in your words) of your major including the things you learn, favorite classes, and any challenges you have faced.

The mechanical engineering major here really instills the fundamentals of any engineering over and over... and over. Everything we do in one class is used in another class and keeps building upon itself. We learn in physics the mechanics of how things work, and extend that even further into Statics and Dynamics while simultaneously learning about how materials are composed and processes that affect them. Combing that we learn how to design with materials, and how systems work. Everything we learn gets used time and again.

My favorite class has been Introduction to Mechanical Engineering, where we really got our first taste of the major. We got to make an automated robot that "does something interesting for 30 seconds". The experience of designing, building, redesigning, rebuilding, and showcasing at the end of the semester with everyone felt really great and was a lot of fun.

What types of experiences outside of the classroom have you had relating to your major? (i.e. clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, study abroad etc.)

In I have been a part of the student groups Tesla Works and Engineers Without Boarders (EWB). In Tesla works I got to work on a self-replicating 3D printer. In EWB Uganda I am currently involved in designing a water transport system. I'm quickly finding that there are many more aspects to mechanical engineering that involve asking lots of questions and lots of planning.

I have had two internships this past summer. I spent the latter half of summer at AP Engineering, where I made professional quality CAD drawings for a giant project. I learned a lot pertaining to the design part of mechanical engineering there. Before that for the month of July I had an internship in Austria at Rosenbauer International. I was completely immersed in the Austrian culture as well as working in an Austrian company. I was involved in many projects that ranged from problem solving and efficiency, to improving products, and even to designing new commercial products and working with marketing teams.

In your opinion, what is one thing, or one piece of advice that other students pursuing your major should know?

My piece of advice would be to have a good reason for doing it. Have something strong that drives you. If you're doing it for the money, which really isn't THAT good, you won't make it through. I'm passionate about what I'm learning and all the possibilities it holds in the future so it makes it very fulfilling and it makes it easier to do.

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