Caeden Keith told us about why he chose NIU and the internship he did last summer:
“I chose NIU because I have lived in Cortland, IL for most of my life with my parents. NIU is right up the road and it is cost-effective. NIU is also my home. When I did my college visits, only 2 of the colleges I went to felt like home and NIU was where I landed because of that, and its competitive cost. Prospective students should choose NIU because of the fantastic programs that NIU has to offer. Also, everyone is super friendly and helps you feel at home.
I recently switched to the new major of Mechatronics Engineering. I love my major because ever since I was a kid, I worked on cars and built things. In high school, I got into robotics and I took a lot of technical classes where I learned CAD and 3D printing, laser engraving, welding, plasma cutting, and much more. From my mechanical aptitude, I went into mechanical engineering but switched to mechatronics because I wanted to learn electrical, computer coding, and much more. Mechatronics Engineering is a great fit for people that want to learn everything that has to do with robotics or electro-mechanical beings.
Last summer I did an internship at Upstaging Inc., which was really cool. I was a 3-axis CNC router operator. I did everything from checking programs, machine operation, machine maintenance, and tool changing. Along with the CNC operation, I also did everything from carpentry, custom fabrication, building truss structures, rigging, and some work with lighting. I also ran a metal lathe and a milling machine when extra hands were needed. I really got a lot of hands-on experience in a plethora of categories during my time there.
My NIU education, while early in my time at NIU, did help me to understand machining practices and the benefit of self-locating features in designs for fabrication from an engineering standpoint. NIU also taught me to create and understand 2D drawings that are for fabricators. Being as I had to build things from those on a day to day basis, my understanding of the drawings from NIU helped a lot.
In my spare time, I mentor my high school’s robotics team (DeKalb High School) because I am living at home.
When I graduate, I hope to find a job in robotics engineering designing well, robots for whatever the need is. I also want to promote STEM to the younger generations when I am older because, science technology, engineering, and math are constantly evolving, and those fields are not going anywhere. STEM will always be needed and it is not only a safe field to go in to, but it is very interesting.”