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School of Engineering

Student Profiles

At UC Merced, there is no cookie-cutter mold for our engineering undergrads. They come from all over the map and have varied backgrounds, goals and accomplishments.

Shelby Skelton

Why I chose UC Merced:

I chose UC Merced for a number of reasons, but was particularly drawn to the campus’ small class sizes and engineering majors that were not impacted. Because I graduated from a small high school at 16, UC Merced’s small campus and close knit community was extremely welcoming and not as overwhelming as some of the larger campuses within the UC system. In addition, I wanted a chance to interact with the professors and be known by more than just another number on a class roster. Finally, I wanted to be part of a continuously growing campus and town.

How I became interested in Engineering:

From a young age, I was interested in how things were built/functioned and fascinated by the impact that technology had on our everyday lives. I loved investigating the electrical plans my dad brought home and would constantly ask questions about the projects he was managing. As I began to excel in math and science, my parents sought out additional classes and projects to further these skills. Somewhere within these projects, I decided that I wanted to build things that made a difference in multiple facets of life.

How I chose Mechanical Engineering:

Although mechanical engineering encompasses a wide range of studies that interest me, I was initially drawn in by my love of engines and moving parts. My father got me interested in cars and motorcycles from a young age and it has become an integral part of my life. After several years of racing motocross and learning how the engines functioned first hand, I began wondering how these parts were made and why they failed. This fascination coupled with my love of science and math made mechanical engineering a perfect fit. Ultimately, I wanted to study something that was going to constantly challenge me, while providing a good job outlook for the future.

Opportunities at UCM:

During my time at UC Merced, I have been fortunate enough to work with several great professors. During the summer after my sophomore year, I was able to do undergraduate research on solar selective coatings for a material science lab. This research gave me the opportunity to learn numerous techniques and skills that are not traditionally taught to mechanical engineers. This research coupled with Prof. Martini teaching me the fundamentals of tribology and allowing me to work in her lab have afforded me an amazing opportunity for my future.

Future Plans:

In the fall, I will start work at Chevron Oronite as a mechanical engineer in their Oronite Development Program.