Meet Tyler Wadekamper

For most of high school, I had no idea what I wanted to study in college. I always knew I loved math and science; they intrigued me. However, I didn’t understand how that translated into a degree or a job in the future.

It wasn’t until my junior year that I had a big shift in focus. I became involved in First Tech Challenge, a robotics competition for high school students, and it quickly launched me toward an interest in engineering. During my two years in the program, I was able to get a feel for engineering through hands-on experience. Once I realized that I wanted to do something with my new interest, it was just a matter of finding the right school.

At first, I was focused on finding a school with the most “opportunity to succeed,” which to me at the time, meant going to the biggest school with the most advanced research program. I had almost settled on attending University of Washington when I toured the SPU and UW campuses and realized how different the cultures actually were from each other. Ultimately, the personal relationships, one-on-one instruction, and overall helpfulness of the school and professors solidified my decision to go to SPU.

When I started at SPU, I was focused mostly on my discipline, thinking that it was the main reason for going to college. I thought I was supposed to come here, get my degree, and start working. Shortly after arriving, though, I began to understand that it's important to strike a balance between character building and technical knowledge. This understanding allowed me to grow in faith as well as discipline, knowing that the two don’t compromise each other, but complement each other. Since then, I have viewed engineering as an avenue to influence people for the better, and faith has become a much larger focal point in my life.

The highlights of my time in the engineering program are definitely the projects that I’ve worked on. From design planning to final presentation, projects are the hands-on application of classroom material, and each one is quite the journey. The feeling of overcoming seemingly massive obstacles and making something work is incredibly fulfilling. For example, at the start of the last school year, I knew almost nothing about electronics design. At the end of the year, I found myself presenting a remote-controlled cannon that aimed and fired using signals from printed circuit boards! That progress feels amazing.

During my freshman year at SPU, I had a physics professor who cared deeply about her students. It was a challenging course, but you couldn’t miss the passion and effort she put into her lessons and her conversations with students. She, like all of the professors at SPU, was readily available for one-on-one questions and guidance. Since then, I have yet to have an experience in the Engineering department that wasn’t similarly personal. Each professor teaches with the goal of guiding their students in science and in life. This is a truly unique — and priceless — aspect of SPU.

My experiences in the Engineering program at SPU have far exceeded my expectations. At first glance, I was afraid that SPU wouldn’t present me with the same educational value as a bigger school, but after being in the program for two years, I’ve received great technical experience and training, and unparalleled guidance on how to live a Christian lifestyle in industry. I have no doubts that I will be very well prepared to exceed in the electrical engineering field after graduation.

After graduation, I hope to find a meaningful job in electrical engineering design near Seattle. Had I not had SPU teachers, I believe I would have likely picked the wrong major and would now be searching for the wrong qualities in a job. Now, my biggest criteria for potential workplaces also include the workplace culture and the kind of people that work there, as well as how the company serves people.