What makes a well-rounded engineer?
Ask graduating senior Nick Daly, this year’s winner of the coveted Colorado Engineering Council, or CEC, Silver Medal, one of the most prestigious awards an engineering student can receive.
The computer engineering major and Scott Scholar received the honor for the diversity and breadth of his strengths, from technical abilities to personal integrity to initiative.
“Nick is one of those rare individuals who not only possesses very strong technical skills, but also strong leadership and communication skills, as well as strong emotional intelligence,” said Susan Benzel, Scott Scholars program coordinator and retired program manager for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “I believe this combination truly makes Nick shine.”
Each year, the CEC awards the Silver Medal to a student at each of the state’s engineering colleges. After an extensive interview process by a Colorado State University committee and members of the CEC, Daly was chosen out of eight top students in the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.
“Even among the highest achieving students in our college, Nick stands out,” said Benzel.
Saying yes to opportunities
Raised in South Denver by parents who are both teachers, Daly learned the value of an excellent education and the importance of giving back to the community. Those values opened the door to life-changing opportunities as a Scott Scholar and armed him with the work ethic to succeed in engineering.
But Daly, who chose computer engineering because he loved coding in high school, admits he had to work hard to develop the professionalism skills that have allowed him to shine.
“When I first joined CSU, I was pretty shy,” said Daly. “I learned to ask for help from professors and to say yes to opportunities.”
Being open to new opportunities helped Daly grow his skills, broaden his perspective, and gain a sense of purpose, from volunteering with Ram Catholic to participating in Off-Campus Life’s Fall Cleanup to serving as a teaching assistant and tutor. He attributes his strong communication and public speaking skills to his leadership role as president of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Theta.
Daly also points to the department’s Industrial Advisory Board, or IAB, for helping him see the potential of computer engineering and the importance of being a well-rounded engineer.
“As a freshman, I wasn’t sure if I had chosen the right major until I attended the IAB meeting,” said Daly. “After interacting with engineering professionals, I knew I was in the right place. That whole experience was a real confidence builder for me,” he said.
Having served in various internship roles with Leprino Foods, Daly has accepted a full-time position with the company as an associate controls engineer for its global engineering team. With the goal of moving into a management position, Daly eventually plans to pursue his master’s degree in either engineering or business.
Daly says he appreciate the knowledge, life lessons, and friendships he gained at CSU.
“There is a misconception that electrical and computer engineers are nerdy and anti-social,” said Daly. “That’s simply not true – they’re here because we all know ECE is a great career path.”