December 12, 2022
Mizzou Engineers are graduating this weekend ready to explore new worlds. For some, that means entering new work environments. Others will continue exploration in graduate school. And some will explore realms beyond our own.
Meet three Winter 2022 graduates who exemplify the determination, imagination and curiosity that embody Mizzou Engineering.
BS, Biological Engineering
Becca Croon landed an ideal position after graduation — one in which she doesn’t have to land anywhere just yet. Croon will join Alstom, a rail technology company based in France with locations across the globe, including Kansas City. Specifically, she’ll be part of the Leadership Excellence and Development (LEAD) Program, which will allow her to spend two years in four different roles exploring various aspects of the industry.
“I’m excited because it’s the perfect opportunity,” she said. “I won’t be settling into one position, but it means I will get to try out new things and determine what it is I want to do for the rest of my career.”
The program follows a similar opportunity Croon had a Bayer, where she interned as a Seed Production Program Manager. There, she was able to work on various tasks such as data analytics, fieldwork and management. Croon also conducted an internship at Amazon, where she oversaw a team of 50.
“I’m definitely interested in leadership, and that was a key factor in what field I chose and what job I chose,” she said. “I want the challenge and to constantly keep learning.”
Croon already has insight as to what’s involved in corporate leadership thanks to a class she took at Mizzou Engineering. The leadership course, which was launched last year, brought in Mizzou Engineering alumni-turned-presidents/ CEOs/C-suite professionals to provide guest lectures.
“We had the opportunity to talk to so many CEOs,” Croon said. “We got up close and personal with them as they shared their stories, told us what they look for in employees and about work/life balance. I really enjoyed that class.”
Also at Mizzou Engineering, Croon conducted undergraduate research around water management and, this semester, served as a peer mentor for the First Year Engineering Program.
Her advice to the next generation of engineering students? Explore everything Mizzou has to offer.
“Find an internship now, don’t put it off,” she said. “Take advantage of research and other opportunities. My friends and I also really enjoyed Stuff to Do at Mizzou, which gave us something to do on a budget to have fun and make some good memories.”
BS, Mechanical Engineering
Kendall Feist’s love for space exploration encouraged him to join the NASA Pathways Internship Program during his undergraduate studies. Now that he’s graduating, he is taking that passion with him to a full-time position at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in the propulsion testing department.
“I’ll be testing rocket motors and inflatable habitats for space exploration,” Feist said. “During my internship I got hooked on watching propulsion tests. When I started, I thought I’d see one during the whole summer, but I was able to watch three on my first day. That’s when I knew that was what I wanted to do for my career.”
Feist spent much of his undergrad years involved with the Mizzou Space Program (MSP). He is currently the Propulsion Lead, managing the design and manufacturing of the rocket motor. He’s also worked with the payload throughout his time at MSP and made some of his favorite memories with the group.
“One time, in 2019, which was my freshman year, our rocket exploded,” he said. “We got some coordinates of pieces of our rocket from other teams and spent three days searching the desert to recover them. Hours before we were kicked out, we finally found the bit of the rocket with the payload section I’d worked on. So, we have a great video of us triumphantly carrying half our rocket out of the desert.”
His time with a competition team means Feist has spoken with many future Tigers about what makes Mizzou special. Every time, he recommends joining a student organization.
“That hands-on experience really makes school fun, otherwise you’re just studying and taking tests,” he said. “Mizzou Engineering and Mizzou Space Program made my time here the most memorable. I’ve been able to do a lot and have a lot of cool experiences with the support of the college and the organization.”
With the skills he gained working on rockets at Mizzou, Feist is ready to turn his love for propulsion testing into a dream career.
“I would say that I’m going to miss building rockets and testing motors with my friends here, but that’s what I’ll be doing for my job every day. I’m really excited.”
BS, Industrial Engineering
Peyton Mocco will continue deeper exploration of industrial engineering as he transitions from his bachelor’s program into graduate studies. Mocco received the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellowship, a program funded through the U.S. Department of Education. The fellowship is awarded to Mizzou Engineering students interested in pursuing careers in academia.
“Mizzou Engineering has opened the door for so many opportunities post-graduation,” he said. “The GAANN Fellowship has given me the financial support to make it possible for me to continue my education.”
While Mizzou Engineering can be difficult at times, Mocco stressed that the hard work makes it worthwhile as it sets students up for success regardless of what they decide to do after college. It also builds a unique comradery among fellow engineers.
“What I’ll remember most is my classmates,” he said. “Starting as strangers, I now consider these fellow engineers my good friends as I reminisce on the countless hours we’ve spent studying and pursing our goal of a degree together.”
Outside of engineering, Mocco was a member of the Mizzou Wrestling Team. The experience gave him the opportunity to travel, be part of a team and represent Mizzou to fans in Columbia and across the country.
“The culture at Mizzou and in Columbia is next to none,” Mocco said. “Mizzou is a forward-thinking university with a staff and community that make it feel like home the second you step on campus. It’s hard to put into words, but you can just sense it in the air when you’re walking down Broadway for a late-night snack or just past the Columns to get to your 8 a.m. class. Columbia will always be a special place.”
Mizzou Engineering’s Winter 2022 Commencement starts at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Hearnes Center. Find Commencement resources and a link to the livestream here.