Brian Dardón is a senior in mechanical engineering and fits the mold of the Grainger Engineer. Brian has had an abundance of leadership positions, served as a mentor in the campus community, and balanced course work with extracurriculars.
For Brian, one of the best parts of Grainger Engineering is participating in the critical thinking process from start to finish. In fact, the late nights he has spent working on projects are some of his fondest memories from his time at Illinois.
“I can think of a few really fun experiences where it’s a team or a few of us working late into the night and then finally it all comes together and it works.”
“I think it’s always really cool to see your projects come to fruition, especially when you’ve been able to start with them from conceptualization to design and then manufacturing.”
Grainger Engineers are shaped by their experiences, which is one of the reasons Brian is passionate about giving back.
“I have really made an effort especially this year and last to start giving back, to pass on that knowledge so other students can hopefully benefit from it and learn from it if there are decisions I made that weren’t the best. Through things like being an ELA and helping prospective students and trying to create networking and mentoring events through the Technology and Management program, I am hoping to kind of buoy up underclassmen and new students to this school and help prepare them for success the same way I was fortunate to be prepared through all the resources I found when I came here.”
Real People, Real Problems, Real Experiences
To Brian, these experiences are what will shape students into industry professionals.
“I think it’s really easy to get siloed, so to speak. When you think of engineering, you think of some person doing the same technical role over and over again and getting really good at that. That to me is really not what makes an engineer, especially not a Grainger Engineer.”
Fortunately, Brian’s combined experiences allow him to solve a multitude of problems, using the skills provided by Grainger Engineering. During his four years on campus, Brian was on the student board for the Technology and Management minor, a committee member of the Engineering Employment Expo, a Superuser at the rapid prototyping lab, a member of the Illinois Formula team, and an Engineering Learning Assistant. Each thing Brian is involved with, he has the opportunity to learn different strategies and concepts and apply them to actual problems and share knowledge with fellow colleagues and peers.
“One piece of advice is to really keep your eyes open and to experience a variety of different roles or challenges, whether that be different technical fields or if you’re experimenting in more administrative things or leadership positions.”