Science and Math complex

The opportunity to pursue an engineering degree on a Christian campus is often unheard of, but now, Lee is turning that tide.

The idea to start a pre-engineering track arose from the minds of Assistant Chair of Natural Science and Mathematics Blayne Carroll, Lecturer in Chemistry and Physical Science Anthony Minutolo and Assistant Professor of Physics David Pigg. With the help of Paul DeLaLuz, chair of the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, these men worked together to create two program tracks for those interested in engineering.

“Engineering programs are all essentially five years, so we created two degree tracks. [For] the first, students complete three years at Lee and then finish their last two years at a partnering institution,” DeLaLuz said. “For the second, students can get a bachelor's degree here in math and then go to finish their master's in about a year.”

The two programs were curated by professors who have their own experience in the field as well as those who studied in related fields. These diverse backgrounds within the realm of engineering allowed for the creation of a program in which students can focus in on civil, electrical, chemical or mechanical engineering. They'll take courses such as Electrical Circuits and Fluid Mechanics.

“My bachelor’s degree was in chemical engineering with a graduate degree in math. I worked as an engineer for two years where I helped chemical plants abide by rules,” Minutolo said. “I would analyze their systems and help them better navigate [those systems].”

With about 80 students currently enrolled in a math major, the program is gaining more attention, attracting students who wish to pursue an engineering degree on a Christian campus.

For junior pre-engineering major Blayne Carroll Jr., the program allowed him to both chase after his desired career and follow in the footsteps of his parents as a second-generation Lee student.

“Both my parents went here, and I wanted to become a civil engineer, so I decided to come to Lee,” Carroll Jr. said. “I am on the four-year track, where I will complete a master’s degree at a technical school after.”

Beyond the classroom, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. John Hearn said he wants students to have the opportunity to attend Lee while also pursuing their passion. Because engineering is such a sought-after major, according to Hearn, the program bridges the gap between those wanting to enter that field and those wanting the Christian community at Lee.

As for the future, DeLaLuz is working to solidify a deal with a partnering institution for this degree so Lee can fully advertise an engineering program beyond just an emphasis within a math degree.

In the meantime, DeLaLuz said the growth of the program thus far has stirred excitement not only among students, but among faculty as well. DeLaLuz explained that gender demographics is one area in which the program has grown, saying he hopes this will spark even further expansion of the major.

“Seven out of ten of our math professors are females. That allows for our female community to feel comfortable in the area,” DeLaLuz said. “This also provides the opportunity for professors to get excited about the program, which benefits students.”

The goal of a full-fledged engineering program at Lee is a vision in the works, dependent upon funding and the school’s needs. As for the present, students can expect a program packed with knowledge as they prepare to finish their degree beyond Lee University.

To learn more about this major, contact DeLaLuz at pdelaluz@leeuniversity.edu.

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