Engineering an Impact

Isabella Verdugo

April 13, 2018

Isabella Verdugo ('19) joined the Mechanical Engineering program in Gonzaga's School of Engineering and Applied Science (the SEAS) with no machining experience but with the confidence that getting hands-on experience in our Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC) would benefit her future career.

"On day one of my freshman year, I walked into the MTC and got involved," she said. "Now, I work there and teach others in the shop how to use the tools. I help manufacture the junior and senior design projects and am the President of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). In SAE, we design and build a Baja car each year to compete in an international competition."

The MTC plays an important role in the development of our future graduates. So much so, that it was a featured fundraising area for the SEAS on Zags Give Day, GU's 24-hour fundraising blitz day. More than 100 donors contributed a total of $15,000, which will help in maintaining and improving the MTC.

Verdugo explained that, based on previous funding efforts, "we were able to buy a new, four-axis CNC HAAS Mill this past year.  For SAE we were able to design and machine our own hubs and knuckles for the first time ever thanks to this new HAAS. It's been very helpful in allowing us to apply what we're learning in class and actually design and build parts in real life." 

This sentiment of supporting the entire experience of our students was reflected in the experiences shared by many donors to the MTC Zags Give Day project.  Mackenzie Wadas, a 2012 graduate of Gonzaga's Engineering Management Program, noted “The engineering school was a huge part of my collegiate life. I hope that more students take advantage of the opportunities and tools they have in the engineering school.  Take theory and apply it.”

The new funding from Zags Give Day will help to accomplish this wish by contributing to the expansion of the capabilities of the MTC and, through the MTC, the overall student experience.

On behalf of all her peers in Gonzaga's engineering programs, Verdugo shared immense gratitude.

"You are giving opportunities to students like me to develop skills that will help in my career," she said, adding, "and because it's a nonexclusive technology center, it doesn't matter what major you are — you can come in and learn. Through your donations we are able to get experience inside and outside the classroom, with steel, aluminum, carbon fiber composites, and 3-D printing. Thank you!"

You can have an impact on future engineers by making a gift.