August 16, 2021 at 1:30pm
Dane Lisser

"More than anything, it's the people that make college fun."

The following article comes from the Summer 2021 edition of Blue Review, Millikin University's Family Magazine

Dual-degree programs allow students to simultaneously study two or more fields. Some dual-degree students complete two bachelor's-level majors simultaneously, while others obtain more than one degree in the same field. These programs are beneficial for learners who have a career path in mind or for students who are exploring their options in several areas of interest.

Millikin University offers "3+2" dual-degree programs with some institutions, allowing students to earn two degrees in five years (three years at Millikin and two at another institution).

Matthew Schmidt Millikin University

Matthew Schmidt 

Physics major Matthew Schmidt is taking advantage of this opportunity in the field of mechanical engineering where he will transition to Washington University in St. Louis after completing three years at Millikin. Before Millikin, the Belleville (Ill.) native had his heart set on aerospace engineering with aspirations of working for NASA, but it was a connection through his father who told him that mechanical engineering is the way to go.

"NASA hires more mechanical engineers than aerospace engineers," Schmidt said. "Mechanical engineering is the jack of all trades where you can pivot into so many different areas. NASA would be the ideal place I would like to end up working at."

Millikin was the right destination for Schmidt, not only because of the dual-degree program with Washington University but that he could also play football for the Big Blue. 

Over the past three years at Millikin, Schmidt has engaged in several hands-on learning opportunities that have helped him become more familiar with computers, how to interface with different electronics, and other engineering skills. One particular project Schmidt noted was a voice-controlled water device that he and another student built in a month. Schmidt presented the device at Millikin's annual Celebrations of Scholarship and received an honorable mention prize.

Matthew Schmidt Millikin University

"We use voice-control to control the water level in a bucket. We can tell the device to fill the bucket which uses a pump to fill it to the top or you can tell it to drain the bucket, or you can set it to some sort of level," he said.

The device uses an ultrasonic sensor that sends out a sound wave essentially using the speed of sound to determine the distance of controlling the water level.

In addition to the project, Schmidt also learned how to do computer coding and how to solder 3D prints. "There will be more technical engineering skills I will learn down the road, but Millikin has given me a good base," he said.

Schmidt says the community of students and faculty made a lasting impression on him during his three years on campus.

"More than anything, it's the people that make college fun," he said.

Blue Review

Millikin University's "Family Magazine," Blue Review provides fresh and interesting perspectives from campus. From faculty and student stories to new programs and majors to achievements in our athletics and alumni communities, Blue Review has Millikin pride emblazoned across its brilliant pages. Readers will enjoy original photography, design and artwork, collaborative content developed by staff, faculty and students, and a behind-the-scenes look at the fascination and innovation powering the Millikin Momentum.

Our most recent issue covers Millikin's 97 percent graduate success rate and every step that students take to get there. It looks at how students have risen to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they have grown as a result of the educational Performance Learning opportunities Millikin has helped provide. While the world paused, Millikin students continued to persevere, showing their strengths to the campus, community and employers around them.