Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2022
While exploring his options for college, guided tours of engineering education and research facilities at Arizona State University convinced Willem Grier that “great opportunity awaited me here.”
One enticement was discovering he could combine his interests in computer science and electrical engineering by pursuing a degree in computer systems engineering. Taking that path has fulfilled his expectations.
“I found it interesting how concepts and skills I learned in seemingly unrelated courses could translate to my other classes, such as how software quality assurance can impact the success of a business start-up or the performance of a new computer architecture,” Grier says.
The potential he demonstrated in his studies led to an invitation to enroll in Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Professor Sarma Vrudhula’s graduate course on algorithms for computer-aided design of digital systems.
The course gave Grier the opportunity to study with students seeking master’s and doctoral degrees, and to apply what he learned from them and Vrudhula to his work on an honors thesis required of him as a student in ASU’s Barrett, The Honors College.
Equally as impactful, Grier says, “Professor Vrudhula’s mentorship gave me the ability to challenge myself without constraint and express my creativity.”
He nurtured that creative spirit through a Fulton Schools’ Entrepreneurship and Value Creation course, which offered the opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team of fellow engineering students to form a business start-up.
“We used our diverse set of abilities to provide a maintenance management service for residential communities. During this project, I developed many nontechnical skills, such as customer service, communication and project management skills,” he says.
“This will always be memorable because it was my first chance to take the product of my engineering work to the public,” says Grier, who is also graduating with a degree in business, with a concentration in law, from ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business — and with plans to pursue a doctoral degree in computer engineering.
His studies at ASU have been aided by support from the New American University – President’s Award, a Garmin Next-Gen Scholarship, a Future Engineering Business Leaders Scholarship and an Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering Alumni Association Scholarship.
Because of his motivating undergraduate experiences, Grier says he “will forever embrace the entrepreneurial mindset taught to me here in the Fulton Schools. To be a great engineer, one must create solutions, not just products.”