Peter Harper – Distinguished Graduate
Peter Harper served as the chair and president of the ASU chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He worked with a Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI) team, helping to select and set up a gamma radiation detector to study whether lithium-ion batteries could determine where the nuclear material came from in a nuclear weapon.
What led you to choose to study engineering and to decide on the specific major you chose?
I chose to study engineering because I grew up around it. My dad worked as an engineer in the aerospace industry. I chose to major in mechanical engineering because it gives me a broad skill set and a lot of employment opportunities.
Was there a particular “Ah-Ha!” moment when you knew that you were on the right path in your college studies?
By participating in ASME, I was able to gain leadership experience and network with other students and employers. The networking experiences led to my first internship experience, which in turn has opened the door to two more internships. These internships have been valuable opportunities to not only gain experience, but also better understand what I want to do as an engineer.
Is there a professor who has been particularly instrumental in helping you grow as a student? How and in what way did they impact you?
James Middleton has helped me by encouraging me to love learning, learn from my mistakes and by answering my questions, both in class and outside of class.
What are your plans after graduation?
I will stay at ASU to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering through the 4+1 program. I want to work in the defense or aerospace industries. While transitioning from attending classes to looking for a full-time job is intimidating, I‘m excited about the opportunities ahead. I would love to work for an aerospace company, because each day I could look into the sky at planes flying overhead and know that I help make them fly.