Maryville native Jackson Smith always knew he wanted to pursue engineering as a career. Smith’s ambition and passion for engineering is what helped him achieve a high school diploma and two associate degrees, at the same time, by being a part of the Southwestern Illinois College Running Start program.
He graduated from Triad High School, earned an Associate in Science and Associate in Arts from SWIC in 2019 and is now pursuing a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics from the University of Evansville.
The Running Start program allows highly qualified high school juniors and seniors to earn a high school diploma from their local high school or homeschool, while simultaneously earning a transfer degree from SWIC.
“I chose to be a part of the SWIC Running Start program because I knew it would make me stand-out from other individuals and give me an advantage over other students trying to enter the competitive field of engineering,” said Smith. “SWIC laid the foundation for my diverse skill-set in physics, chemistry and math; having learned these tools early on in my career gives me an edge and will enable me to excel further in my career.”
He believes that if you do good work and have a passion to keep growing and learning, you can have a real impact in your field and possibly the world. Smith feels that engineering helps people to understand mathematics and principles behind ideas as simple as linear spring motion and as complex as thermo-fluid dynamics.
He is currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of Evansville in Indiana, a teacher’s assistant for the Engineering Department, a campus dorm lead resident assistant and will soon be starting an internship at BWX Technologies, Inc.
Smith is a member of the National Mechanical Engineering Honors Society, Pi Tau Sigma, as well as a member of the National Engineering Honors Society, Tau Beta Pi. He has also been conducting research on thermosiphons and solar powered water heaters for use in third world countries.
In his free time, he enjoys playing video games, ultimate frisbee, card games, sand volleyball and watching rocket launches and static fire testing.
In the future, Smith hopes to be able to place his “engineering fingerprints” on as many unique places as possible such as the depths of the ocean, top of mountains or even in space.
“Knowing I helped design and create something that is on another planet or orbiting the Earth would be a crowning achievement,” Smith said.
For more information on the SWIC Running Start program, visit swic.edu/running-start.