Star Athlete “Kicks Off” Engineering Phase at Penn State
When hiring an engineer, you likely want someone intelligent, creative, and… not afraid of pressure if they are working on the bridge you use to get to school or work every day. Not unlike the skills needed to be the field goal kicker on a football team, ready to step up with no time on the clock and the game on the line. Marcus Brown ’18, LVC’s co-record holder for field goals made in a season, is just that person as he pursues the second phase of LVC’s 3+2 engineering program at Penn State University, University Park.
Though leaning toward a career in nanotechnology after PSU and not working on bridges, competing as a Dutchman and hurdling the stringent academic requirements of LVC’s Physics and Mathematical Science programs is helping Brown succeed in Happy Valley. Brown originally planned on spending all four years at LVC studying physics and setting football records. Then, before his senior year, he became interested in the 3+2 engineering program, since “I love the opportunities and atmosphere of both campuses and realized I had always loved building with LEGOs, taking things apart, and learning in my math and science classes,” Brown said. “Though I thought about becoming a lawyer since I love arguing,” he said with a laugh. “I felt engineering was the best path for me to follow.” Thankfully, due to the flexibility of LVC’s engineering program, it wasn’t too late.
It is what he learned in his LVC physics and math classes that prepared him to go Further, and do More, after graduation. Now, in the first of two years of the engineering program at Penn State, Brown credits his preparedness to the foundations he was given at LVC.
“Physics is the backbone of everything that you study in engineering, so when I got to Penn State, I was already kind of ahead of the curve.”
LVC’s 3+2 engineering program is comprised of three years at LVC, in which a student will earn a bachelor’s degree in science, and two years at another accredited institution, usually Penn State or Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. For Brown, these first three years were foundational to his understanding of engineering, but they were also a time for him to pursue his football career.
In just three years as a kicker for LVC football, Brown flourished, gaining top five positions for career PAT kicks made and field goals made, among other career and season top-five rankings. All the while, he managed to keep up with his rigorous courses in the Math and Physics departments. Brown admits that sometimes he would even sneak books and notes on to the sidelines during practices so he could study for upcoming exams between drills. He also found help from his professors who recognized Brown’s busy schedule and worked with him to balance football and academics.
“Thankfully, some of my professors supported their students being academically and athletically inclined, so they understood I was on an odd schedule compared to most other physics majors and worked with me to succeed.”
Though he has had to move on from his football career at LVC to pursue engineering at Penn State, Brown has enjoyed working with nanomaterials and semiconducting devices. He also looks forward to working at the PSU Applied Research Lab this summer, where he will be able to see other aspects of engineering at work. Brown has also begun the preliminary steps for his Engineering Science Honors Research. With all that he has been doing at PSU, Brown hasn’t decided what his plans are after graduation, but he says he would love to work in nanotechnology for a company like Micron or Intel.
And, in response to the obligatory, ‘anything else you would like to add,’ Brown replied, “Go Dutchmen!”
Note: Four other LVC alumni are in the fourth or fifth year of LVC’s 3+2 engineering partnership with Penn State University—Eric Alleman ’18 (engineering science and mechanics), Leah Boyer ’18 (engineering science and mathematics), Michael Farber ’18 (energy engineering), and Drice Bahajak ’17 (electrical engineering).
- Darby Seymour, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant