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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Beyond the Small Talk


Name: Donald Benner

Year: Senior

Major: Mechanical engineering


How did you choose your major?

I wanted to be able to apply math and science, and I know that you had many more options with an engineering degree than you did with a math or physics degree.


What advice would you give to students in your major?

No matter how well you did in math/science classes in high school, you will have to put a lot more effort into your engineering classes to succeed. Also, lower division math and engineering classes are designed to be very hard – take them for what they are.


Out of all the classes you have taken at UC Davis, which are your favorite?What are/were they about?

EME 50 and EME 163. EME 50 was manufacturing processes and you actually get to work in the machine shop on things you design. EME 163 was experimental combustion engine design, and you learn about hybrids and biodiesel and it’s a very informative class.


Are you involved in any research currently? If so, can you tell us a little about what it is about?

No, but there are plenty of opportunities on campus to work individually with professors. I strongly encourage everyone take advantage of these.


What activities or groups are you involved with? What are they like?

I’ve been on the UCD Bowling Sport Club team for four years. Some of my most memorable experiences from the last four years are because of the bowling team, like taking third in the National Championships last year.


What are a few things you want to do in your lifetime, and why?

Travel the world, retire from a successful career and have a family.


Please describe one or two interesting facts about yourself.

I drove a 1956 Chevrolet Nomad in high school.


What new scientific discoveries do you think will be made within your lifetime?

Hopefully a sustainable energy source and ways to stop the symptoms of cancer and AIDS.


Why do you think you exist?

I don’t really think about that too much right now – too busy trying to finish up design projects and find a job.


If you had to be any other living organism, what would you be and why?

A cat. All I’d have to do all day is eat and sleep. It’d be great.


Know someone doing something interesting in the sciences? Let us know at science@californiaaggie.com.



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