I like solving problems. I think that’s part of the math brain in me,” says Clare Whalen, an engineering student. “I knew I wanted to do engineering because I’m good at math, and I like being able to be creative. Also, I like helping people.”

Clare says that in her Introduction to Engineering class, she had the opportunity to hear from many industry professionals about how their work made people’s lives better. “I think a lot of engineers have the trait of wanting to help,” she says.

Clare enjoys the small class sizes at Moraine Valley because she gets personal attention from her instructors, and she says, “I get to know everyone in my class. I feel like if I was in a huge class, I’d probably feel overwhelmed — especially as a freshman.”

She also is excited about being able to work on projects that may someday help society. Currently, she and a team of students are researching the possibility of creating a shopping cart that could attach to a wheelchair to allow individuals with a disability to shop on their own. Clare came up with the idea after noticing that her mother, who uses a wheelchair, could not easily grocery shop without assistance.

“It’s kind of exhilarating to have a project like this in class. Of course, we can’t actually build it right now, but we’re going to do the math and the measurements. And, if I can design something like that in the future, I would love to.”

Clare is glad she chose to start her engineering studies here because she can save a lot of money, and she believes she’s getting the same level of education as a freshman that she would have if she had gone directly to a four-year institution. Also, “I think being able to put on my resume that I earned an Associate in Engineering Science degree and went through rigorous coursework is really positive,” she says.