As recent WSU mechanical engineering graduate Parth Chandak looks back on his college academic career, he reflects on the guiding principle of his education: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin’s adage illustrates how hands-on learning has affected Chandak during his time at Washington State University. He graduated with a lengthy resume, packed with internships, research work, student competitions, club experience, and numerous awards.

“When I go out and do new things, I develop a new understanding of how something works,” Chandak said.

As a member of the WSU Robotics Club, he worked to make an affordable electric bike for students and had his first opportunity to work as part of a team. Chandak also designed and programmed a centipede robot that follows sunlight.

“Robotics concepts require hands-on work,” Chandak said, “They integrate technology into the physical world in a tangible way.”

Parth Chandak building a robotic centipede.
Parth Chandak building a robotic centipede at an IEEE hackathon.

As the club’s tutorial coordinator, Chandak brought in professors and professionals in the field to give his fellow students the opportunity to learn robotics skills.

“When I was a freshman, I was in awe of the talented seniors and juniors. They inspired me to work hard and develop a deeper understanding,” Chandak said, “And somewhere along the way, I hope I was that senior for someone else.”

In his internship with BERG Manufacturing, Chandak helped optimize the company’s electrical assembly line. He eliminated an 8-hour delay in their manufacturing process by ensuring that equipment would be prepared for use upon plug-in, instead of taking time to fire up.

“Having the opportunity to look at a problem and use class concepts to solve it was challenging, but incredibly rewarding,” Chandak said.

This summer, he will take this experience to a design engineering internship at Tesla Motors. He will be working on their design engineering team for superchargers.

“I can’t wait to see how my experience translates into this new adventure,” Chandak said.

Chandak is motivated by the freedom that WSU gave him to get out and explore. Prior to arriving in Pullman, Chandak was not nearly as involved in extracurricular activities. Moving far from his home in India was a huge and challenging step. But being surrounded by a large, supportive community sparked a huge difference in his attitude.

“Because of the people here, it never felt like I was on the other side of the world,” he said. “Washington State University became my home.”