Hunter Mauk, 29, of Delavan, Wisconsin, but originally of Bedford, graduated with an Associate in Science degree from KCC in 2016 as the College’s 2016 Outstanding Full-Time Arts & Sciences Graduate and Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry award recipient.
A 2013 graduate of Bedford Bible Church School, Mauk was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the Campus Republicans RSOs at KCC, and received the Karen Sharp Student Scholarship Award from the Michigan Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges. After KCC he went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree in Chemical Engineering from Western University in 2019.
Today Mauk is a senior project engineer for Evaporator Dryer Technologies in Hammond, Wisconsin, designing spray drying equipment for the food and beverage industry.
Why did you choose your major/area of study?
I always knew I wanted to work in the sciences. As a kid I was in the 4-H poultry project. Being a part of the project piqued my interest in biology and introduced me to other scientifically minded people. Surprisingly, I started my enrollment in lower-level math classes. Thanks to the expertise of KCC’s Math Department, getting up to speed and proficient in mathematics was an enjoyable journey. After making it to the highest level of mathematics I decided that chemical engineering would be more synergistic with my industrial background than entering the medical field.
Why did you choose to study your major specifically at KCC?
My cousin had taken classes at KCC in 1969-70 and gave me a strong recommendation. In addition to this KCC also offered higher-level math and science classes that transferred to Western Michigan University.
What are you doing now, and how did KCC help you on your path?
I am currently the senior project engineer for Evaporator Dryer Technologies in Hammond, Wisconsin. We design spray drying equipment for the food and beverage industry. My job requires an exhaustive knowledge of mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology. KCC’s professors helped me build a good set of fundamentals, which has allowed me to solve complicated problems like it is second nature.
Was your favorite part of your time at KCC, and why?
I enjoyed the creative writing class I took. It was a refreshing break from the math and sciences. I still use the principles taught in that class to dissect and better understand my favorite art today.
What’s the most interesting thing you learned at KCC?
The quote that stands out the most for me is from (Physics professor) Rod Price: “Mass is just resistance to acceleration.” It is a simple statement but makes kinetics analogous to other phenomenon like heat transfer, mass transfer and circuit analysis.
What advice do you have for current or future KCC students?
Community college is the perfect place to let your interests lead you to the career that best fits you. You can develop the path through conversations with professors, academic advisors and personal research.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Success isn’t due to the effort of one person. It comes down to determination, support and a little luck. My family gave me the platform to establish myself. I was fortunate enough to have a good local job through Shouldice Brothers Industrial Manufacturing and through KCC as a peer tutor. Shortly after graduating and getting my first job, the factory I was working at shut down. But that was in fact just another door opening to a much better opportunity. Staying positive and resilient in the face of adversity is the one constant that is the most important skill to develop during school.
This Q&A first appeared in the December 2023 edition of BruIN magazine. To read the issue online, please visit kellogg.edu/bruinmagazine.