Trenton Lauer: Getting the most out of college


Trenton Lauer will join Caterpillar Inc. as an associate electrical engineer following graduation. Photo by Terry Barner

Trenton Lauer wanted to get the most out of his college experience. So he experienced as much as he could.

Before he even enrolled in his first classes, the electrical engineering major got involved in electromagnetic research at Missouri S&T. As a freshman, he joined the Human-Powered Vehicle Team, becoming president his sophomore year. During his 4 1/2 years on campus, he’s lived in three different types of student-approved housing: residence halls (the Quad), Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and the Christian Campus House. And during three summers and one spring semester, Lauer held internships at four different companies in four different sectors: nuclear power, the auto industry, heavy-equipment manufacturing and GPS technology.

“It wasn’t necessarily because of the companies that I took the different internships,” says Lauer. “The main reason was because I wanted to learn about different aspects of engineering, and these opportunities helped me decide which specific area of electrical engineering I liked best.”

That area is hardware electronics. And after Lauer earns his bachelor’s degree on Dec. 15, 2012, he’ll put that interest to work for one of those four companies — Caterpillar Inc. — as an associate electrical engineer in the manufacturer’s mining truck division in Decatur, Ill. He’ll also be enrolled in the company’s leadership development program.

Lauer enters the work force with plenty of leadership experience already, thanks to S&T. After helping out in a variety of ways as a freshman on the Human-Powered Vehicle Team — “I basically learned everything there was to know about building a bike from the ground up” — he was named president during his sophomore year. Under his leadership, that team went on to win both the West Coast and East Coast championships.

Lauer thinks all Missouri S&T students should join a design team, even if they don’t take on a leadership position. “Even if you only do it for the first two or three years here, you’ll get a lot out of it,” he says. “It looks great on a resume.”

Research experience also looks great on a resume. Lauer got a head start on research the summer before his freshman year by working with Dr. James Drewniak, Curators’ Professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of S&T’s Electromagnetic Compatibility Laboratory. Lauer built antennae for various electromagnetic experiments for Drewniak and his graduate students.

“It’s amazing how much you can get involved on campus,” Lauer says. “The quality of the professors, the research opportunities, the design teams, the leadership opportunities — altogether it’s just been more than I could ever have asked for.”

By Andrew Careaga

Learn more about internships, co-ops and other employment opportunities for students.


  1. Congrats ! way to go

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