Michael Alexander Continues The Purpose of Two UC Legends
Date: Nov. 8 , 2002
By: Eric Lose
Photos by Dottie Stover
The legacies of Darwin T. Turner and Herman Schneider continue today through University of Cincinnati students like Michael Alexander, a resident of the Turner Hall side of the UC's new Jefferson Residence Hall Complex.
Alexander is a recipient of the Darwin T. Turner scholarship for academically talented students of color, named after the youngest person ever to graduate from UC. As a second year mechanical engineering student, Alexander also is aware of the continuing influence of Herman Schneider, the former dean of the College of Engineering and the founder of co-op. Alexander will start his first co-op, working at Procter & Gamble, winter quarter. He held a summer internship at the Georgetown, Ky. Toyota plant.
When his parents got him that first set of Legos, they probably never figured his love for the toy would help launch a career. Alexander's hard work and Lego-related interest in designing and drawing earned him a Turner Scholarship to UC's College of Engineering. "I was really honored to get the scholarship," he said. "I was definitely happy to get the opportunity and once I experienced campus was glad to be a part of it."
For his summer internship, Alexander worked in maintenance engineering at the Georgetown Toyota plant. "It was more of a project engineering kind of job," he said. He says he gained experience and honed his problem-solving and research skills, working on projects related to plant maintenance. "I had at least one project where I had to do some calculations and some designs and actually meet with a contractor, and then present it to my supervisor."
This fall, Alexander began his second year of the five-year mechanical engineering program. He says the Toyota internship influenced a change in his post-graduate plans. "After talking to people on the job and getting ideas, I'm considering going to graduate school right away," he said. "I'd like to go on and get my master's in industrial design and end up doing design in the auto industry.
"I also learned a lot from the experience as far as business skills and what engineers actually do in the real world."
As a child, Alexander said he did not know anything about engineering, but liked to design and draw things. "That's why I loved the Legos," he says. These days, the building set has been replaced with pencils and athletic shoes -- he spends his spare time running and mastering his design skills. "I don't have a computer program, so I practice it freehand."
Darwin T. Turner and Herman Schneider personified hard work, dedication, and hands-on learning experience -- a vision that is still carried out by UC students like Michael Alexander.
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