Student Outcomes: Alumni Engineering Profiles

Note: Prior to academic year 2023-24 and the introduction of the Engineering Science program, all students pursuing engineering majored or minored in physics. A degree in Engineering Science is now available, and we expect that many students who pursue graduate work in engineering will come through that program as well.

The following brief profiles highlight the variety of careers in engineering that our physics graduates have begun. This is a small subset of our graduates from the past twenty years, and feature only those who have started work - a list of programs that Luther graduates are currently enrolled in as they pursue graduate degrees in engineering is here.

In addition, many students who arrived at Luther thinking they would like to pursue engineering, ultimately decided that they wanted to do more pure investigative work in the realm of physics and astronomy.   Please visit this page to see our recent graduate school admissions into MS and PhD programs in physics and related scientific fields, and this page for stories concerning the careers that those students who are working more in the natural sciences have pursued.

Jack Benson (‘18) is a civil engineer working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation on sustainable design of road systems. After Luther, Jack entered the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, where he obtained his MS in Civil Engineering in 2020.

Nicholas Hentges (‘18) is an electrical engineer working at Westinghouse in the nuclear power industry in Shoreview, Minnesota. Upon graduation from Luther, Nick joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota, where he obtained his MS in Electrical Engineering in 2021.

Kaeli Kovarik (‘18) is a mechanical engineer working with Frontline BioEnergy in Nevada, IA, where she works on gasification of biofuels for cleaner energy production. After Luther, Kaeli enrolled at Northern Illinois University, where she obtained her MS in Mechanical Engineering in 2020.

David Pfotenhauer (‘15) is an environmental engineer works at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources studying airborne particulate matter. After Luther, David went on to obtain his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado, graduating in 2020.

Austen Smith ('13) is a senior product analyst with Google, having completed a MS in Industrial Engineering and Informatics, at the University of Iowa in 2015.   After four years working as an Analyst with Accenture in Denver, CO, he joined Google as a data analyst in 2019. 

Luwa Matthews (‘12) is a software engineer with Apple, having completed a Ph.D. in Computer and Electrical Engineering at Duke University in 2017.  His work is in hardware-software integration with GPUs in the Apple's Silicon project. 

Kirsten Strandjord ('11) is an assistant professor of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Minnesota.  Kirsten first obtained an MS in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at Purdue University in 2015, and then the PhD in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado in 2020. After working in a postdoctoral research position at Colorado, Kirsten began as a professor at Minnesota in fall of 2021.

George Zacharakis-Jutz (‘11) is a senior project manager as a mechanical engineer with Elemental Machines. George obtained his MS in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University and worked with IBM in Denver, CO, for 9 years before signing on with Elemental Machines in 2022.

Krista Morris ('10) is a structural engineer, with Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH), in Rochester, Minnesota. Krista graduated from Luther and headed up to the Twin Cities, where she completed a Master of Science degree in Structural Engineering. As a structural engineer, she has been involved in a number of building projects since being hired on with SEH.

Todd Brown ('06) is a systems engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. Todd graduated from Luther and headed to Purdue University, where he completed a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering, and subsequently went to JPL to begin work on NASA's Cassini mission. More details about his work are found here, at his full Alumni Profile.