Class of 2003
In 2003, the first preemptive war in United States history was launched, Martha Stewart was indicted on nine charges of obstruction of justice and securities fraud, NBC’s “West Wing” took the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, Norah Jones’ “Come Away with Me” won the Grammy for Best Album and the Florida Marlins defeated the New York Yankees in the World Series.
The University of Missouri’s College of Engineering awarded bachelor’s degrees to 233 students in 2003, including Caroline Pinkston, BS EE ’03, MS EE ’05; Tim Roberts, BS MAE ’03; Nicky Butler BS EE ’03; Brett Huhman, BS EE ’03, MS EE ’06; and Lisa Morris, BS MAE ’03. Following are updates on their lives after MU, and reflections about their college years.
Life after school
After graduation, I worked for Honeywell, got my master’s degree in electrical engineering, and went to work for the law firm Shook, Hardy and Bacon as a patent agent. The law firm experience brought me back to law school at MU.
After graduating I married my long-time girlfriend, Nicky Butler. We live just outside of Dallas, Texas, with our two dogs. I have been working for the world’s leading manufacturer of high performance radio-controlled vehicles as the prime mechanical design engineer. I’ve led many vehicle projects that are being sold on store shelves worldwide. I’ve also continued my pursuit of racing by winning four R/C racing national championships. Recently I entered into a business partnership that offers consulting, design, and maintenance services for amateur racers.
After marrying Tim Roberts and moving near Dallas, Texas, I went to work as a quality engineer for Boeing. I then went to L-3 Communications in Greenville, Texas, as a systems engineer where I worked on airborne communications systems for VIP Head of State aircraft. I got to do lots of interesting work including ground and flight testing — the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. I was recently
selected to be part of a new division, Advanced Research and Development, located in Rockwall, Texas. I work with the user community to discover technology needs that can be developed into products, and also lead two R & D projects.
While in Greenville, I received my master’s in systems engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology through an L-3 sponsored executive program.
Since graduating, I earned my master’s in electrical engineering from MU and then went to work for the L-3 Titan Corporation, stationed at the U.S. Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C., where I worked for the Advanced Systems Section of the Pulsed Power Physics Branch of the Plasma Physics Division. I worked on the Mercury inductive voltage adder and the Hybrid Radiation Source.
I joined the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in June 2007 as a Navy civilian employee, and started full-time on the NEMESYS electromagnetic railgun launcher. I regularly present papers at the IEEE conferences, where I run into classmates.
I work at Burns & McDonnell Engineering, a Kansas City consulting firm. I started as a mechanical engineer working mostly on food-processing/packaging projects, and now work as a proposal coordinator in our marketing department. In 2007, I earned my PE license.
I am extremely active, participating in soccer, running, biking and swimming, and I still play volleyball. [Morris was on the varsity volleyball squad at Mizzou.] I ran my first marathon in 2005 and several others since then, as well as competing in over a dozen triathlons. I am a member of the Arthritis Foundation Board of Directors, a cause I am passionate about since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2004.
My favorite memory would have to be the snake prank at the Law School during Engineer’s Week.
Finishing second overall in both 2001 and 2003 on the Formula SAE team was extremely gratifying. I lived and breathed the SAE team, and for a year’s work to pay off that big two times were major defining moments for me. Other favorite memories are road rally, chatting about cars with the Dean, learning skills in the machine shops, and those times when I finally connected in class. Finding my soul mate [Nicky Butler] at MU and sharing so many great experiences continues to build memories.
Some of the best times I had at MU happened while working on the Formula SAE team. I enjoyed the real world car knowledge I obtained, as well as the many lessons gained from working on a team. As team president my senior year, I got to learn a lot about organizing a project, working with sponsors, handling public relations, meeting deadlines and so much more.
As a freshman at Mizzou, I met my husband Tim Roberts and we dated all through college. After graduating, he proposed to me on the Quad. It is one of the best things to happen to me on campus and provides me with a permanent link to good ‘ole Mizzou.
My fondest memory of my days at Mizzou is when I was working for the MU Student News as the photo editor in the fall of 2002. I was scheduled to meet a reporter, Heather Pugh, and when she showed up, it was love at first sight. Three years later we were married.
My fondest memories are studying in the grass on the quad, beers at the ’Berg after final exams, my first St. Pat’s Ball, road rally and meeting friends for coffee in Memorial Union. Also pretty special were beating Texas A&M, ranked 18th in the country before anyone knew that Missouri volleyball had become a contender, taking an unheard-of volleyball program to a Top 25 ranking and having the director of the Electrical Engineering Department interrupt my circuits class to say, “Hey! There’s the Big 12 Player of the Week.”
Just for Fun
I loved to go to concerts—the Blue Note was the best venue. Going to football and basketball games, working on E-Week and participating in all the events were some of most fun times ever. Hanging out downtown at the different bars was fun, especially Harpo’s! House parties, traveling with friends on spring break, hanging at the pool at Mark Twain, Friday night grill night — it was all fun.
I played volleyball and got an engineering degree. That didn’t leave too much time for fun.
I have several favorite faculty members: Dr. Engel always respected practical ideas, even though they were quite different from his own, and his stories were always a riot; I loved how on the first day of Circuits 2, Dr. Leavene told his class that he would use a yardstick to slap the desk of anyone who wasn’t listening, intimidating every new engineering student; Dr. Devaney knew so much about everything, and it helped open my eyes to the world outside of engineering; Dr. Gahl had a great laugh; and building our own power supplies for EE 154 with Dr. Nunnally is unforgettable.
My favorite classes all involved the practical application of engineering principles: machine design, materials, manufacturing methods, mechanical systems. Once I reached the level of these courses I knew I had made the right decision to become a mechanical engineer.
The faculty member who most influenced me was Rick Wells, the student machine shop manager. I spent thousands of hours under his supervision and learned so much from him about life inside and outside of a shop. I still keep in touch with him.
My favorite teachers were my advisor and head of the EE program, Dr. “Doc” Leavene, and Dr. Sherman. Doc taught EE 205, the first real EE course. I will never forget when he showed up to class on Halloween as the Grim Reaper. Dr. Sherman always had the best stories. I still tell some of them today. I also enjoyed working with Dean Jim Thompson, and staff members Rick Wells and Marty Walker. I learned lessons from them that helped make me a well-rounded engineer.
Dr. Sherman is my favorite faculty member. He had such a depth of experience. He would always have a real-world application for whatever topic he was discussing, and was always approachable. He was a pleasure as an instructor.
My favorite class was a film class I took through the English Department — no offense to my engineering professors. It was just a nice change of pace.
I always enjoyed time right after engineering exams — there was always a sense of relief and camaraderie among students. The most challenging was physics. It was the only class where a student could receive 33 percent on an exam, and yet would have a passing grade.
Finding balance was the biggest challenge for me. The course work was often difficult, time consuming and had to be balanced with my obligations to the Formula SAE team, work and personal time. In the end, finding the proper balance allowed me to succeed at all of them, which was very rewarding. To this day I use the lessons I learned while attending Mizzou Engineering to model my success in the professional world.
Engineering in general was challenging, but my reward is that no matter where my career takes me I will have a leg-up because of my engineering background.
I found balancing the needs of many different classes to be difficult, especially trying to switch between control theory and agricultural journalism. It was much easier in graduate school. My educational experience was more rewarding when I started to interact with the professors and could appreciate and focus on electrical engineering.
The most rewarding part about Mizzou Engineering was the people.