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Joseph Priester

Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering

Why UC Merced?

After my successful transition from the U.S. Marine Corps, choosing UC Merced for my mechanical engineering program was a thoughtful decision. The campus' commitment to innovation and cutting-edge research aligns with my passion for staying at the forefront of technology. The classes here provided a more personalized learning experience, allowing for meaningful interactions with professors and fellow students. As long as you’re committed to the academic goals you set for yourself, the faculty here will go above and beyond to make sure you get to where you want to be. Additionally, the university's location in Merced offers a very affordable cost of living and short commute to and from campus, it is often something many people tend to overlook, but it makes up a significant part of having a good quality of life and a smooth academic experience.

Why Your Major?

To me, mechanical engineering is a vibrant and continually evolving discipline that allows me to blend creativity with technical expertise. Growing up, I was a tinkerer who always tried to take things apart simply out of curiosity. It used to get me into a lot of trouble because breaking things beyond repair was also a significant part of learning how things don’t work. This passion of mine was further enriched during my last years in the U.S. military, where I gained valuable experience in drone building and prototyping through 3D printing technology. It was my first exposure to this type of work that awakened the inner child in me and solidified my decision to pursue higher education in mechanical engineering. My enduring passion for this technical field has its roots in a fascination with unraveling the inner workings of various systems and a desire to foster innovation.

Inspiration and Mentors

Enlisting in the U.S. Marines right out of high school presented one of the most challenging transitions into civilian life after years of honorable service. The inspiration to succeed stemmed from the men and women who had gone through the exact same path and undergone the same strenuous transition to become successful in the world outside the military. I would like to dedicate this success to my wife, Amara, who stuck by my side through all the uncertain times we have faced and for being the loving, caring life partner through our journey together.

Memorable Academic Experience

One standout academic experience was a hands-on project where I collaborated with a team to design and build a prototype olive harvester for an agricultural research project at UC Merced. Seeing those ideas and designs from a computer software model slowly come to life is one of the most gratifying experiences as an aspiring engineer. This project not only honed my technical skills but also emphasized the importance of teamwork and problem-solving. It was a defining moment that solidified my love for the practical application of engineering concepts.

What's Next?

I’m currently on the lookout for a rewarding position in the mechanical engineering field, with the goal of actively contributing to innovative projects. I am exploring opportunities in San Diego, where I plan to relocate after completing my program at UC Merced. The prospect of applying my skills in a real-world setting is genuinely exciting.

Anything else?

On a personal note, I'm eagerly looking forward to achieving stability in my career, alongside my wife, Amara, who showcases her talents at LinkedIn. As we work towards building a foundation for our future, the prospect of starting a family is a cherished goal for both of us.

Balancing professional growth with personal milestones is a journey I'm prepared to embrace with enthusiasm. In this moment, we are expecting our first child and joyfully await their arrival.

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