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Undergraduate learns the value of hard work, leadership

A woman looks back from her seat in an airplane.

Mechanical engineering senior Traonna Clark sits in an airplane while on an MU Engineering study abroad trip to South Africa in the summer 2012.

Traonna Clark is a senior mechanical engineering major from St. Louis.  She chose the University of Missouri College of Engineering because she thought it offered a great engineering program, and it was close to home.

What she found most surprising after entering college was that she had to rethink her study habits. Learning from experience, she discovered that her best way to study involved learning the course material over a longer period of time, enabling her to not only do well in class, but fully take in what she learned.

“My first semester at Mizzou, I used the same approach [used in high school], and realized cramming in weeks of material in one night wasn’t enough time to fully grasp the material,” she said.

MU Engineering has not only provided Clark with a textbook education, but has also helped facilitate the opportunities for her to gain a real-world education through an internship at Ameren Missouri’s Callaway plant in Fulton, Mo., and professional development.

“Through my internship experiences, I have learned you use the concepts learned in the classroom in 20 percent of the real world, and you are constantly learning in that field,” she said.

Over her fours years at MU, Clark said she credits her work with the faculty for her successes.

“Being around great faculty that care and also professors who are passionate about teaching — I have met so many people in the past four years being here, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything else,” she said.

Clark is involved in the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers. She will graduate in May and plans to work full-time for a engineering consulting firm, adding that her goal is to be in a management position in seven years.