Mechanical engineering major Kory O’Connor is a man in motion.

Kory, how did you choose mechanical engineering as your major?

Since I was a kid, I loved taking things apart and figuring out how they worked. If there is something that is broken, I like to try and figure out how to fix it. I like to work with my hands and I liked things that moved and were powered with something – cars, robots, or anything that has motion – and mechanical engineering is the perfect match for that.

Why did you choose to study at Washington State University?

Kory O’Connor working with Wazzu Racing
Kory O’Connor working with Wazzu Racing. Photo by Kevin Basler.

I chose WSU because I was looking for a school with a good engineering program and I wanted to stay somewhere close to my home in Tacoma.

I really like the fact that Pullman is a small college town where everyone is connected and you hear a lot about what’s going on here on campus. The faculty here are friendly and encouraging, and are always there to help students if they are having a problem. The football games are always fun to go to. We have one best fan bases in the nation!

What activities are you involved with at WSU?

I am the president of Wazzu Racing.

Wazzu Racing, or the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) is WSU’s largest engineering club, where we design, build, and compete with a small-scale Formula SAE race car in an international competition. We build the car, test it and compete against other teams.

It is a very vigorous competition and we learn a lot. It is really nice to be able to utilize what we learned in the classroom and applied to a real project. It is a really great experience and we are having a lot of fun.

Video by Forrest Holt

What advice would give to incoming students?

I really encourage students to get involved with clubs and extracurricular activities because that’s really what will put you ahead of all the other students and make you stand out when you graduate. Employers like to see the different activities and clubs you were engaged with while in college.

Getting good grades is always good advice. If you study hard and work well in the first two years, it will all pay off in the upcoming years and in the long run. Once you have established that good base, and you settled in, try to find a club or two that you are really interested in and pursue that so that you learn more outside of the classroom and you get a lot of interactions with different people.

What are your plans after graduation?

I am planning to pursue a master’s degree in automotive mechatronics and management in Austria.

Learn more about Voiland College’s many student clubs.

Pictured at top: Kory O’Connor in WSU’s Formula SAE race car. Photo by Tim Lowe.