March 04, 2024

Marco Moriarty loves to take on new challenges. When he chose Century College, it was because of its affordability and proximity to his home. Initially, he took General Education courses and studied business. However, after a break, he realized that he needed to be more strategic and challenge himself further. Fueled by his thirst for knowledge, he decided to return to Century College and shift his focus to engineering.

A Passion for Creativity

“When I took Engineering 101, I knew I wanted to get a full degree,” Marco says. “I also walked by the Fab Lab several times and was intrigued. I wanted to learn to build my own prototypes.

“Logic gives you the tools to use, but you need creativity to put it all together.”

Marco has always been creative. As a child, he learned how things worked by disassembling them. “I once took a radio apart, and moved the coils to see if the radio reception became more or less clear,” he remembers. “I also took apart a battery.”

During high school, Marco honed his artistic skills by taking art classes, and creating ceramics and paintings. He sang in the choir, played the violin, and performed in the theatre. Marco was an avid reader as well, with a particular interest in popular science books.

Using Practical Engineering Skills

Using skills he learned in Engineering 101, Marco’s first (robotic) project involved food storage, replacing oxygen with argon. “Food goes stale with oxygen, but won’t react with argon,” Marco explains. “The theory is that food won’t go stale, and if you add UV lights to make the environment sterile, food will last longer.”

Marco also worked on a solar panel project with Jason Huebscher, Fab Lab manager, involving building a sensor to detect and remove snow on panels. (A prototype of this robot will be on display at the Spring Robot Show on April 30.)

Professional Networking through Century College’s Engineering Club

Now in his second year of Engineering, Marco also dedicates his time to numerous extracurricular activities. Having held the presidency of Century College’s Engineering Club last year, he has now assumed the position of vice president. With a primary focus on establishing professional connections, Club members undertake cold calling and invite local engineers to their meetings. The Club serves as an avenue for members to learn about various engineering career paths and internship opportunities.

Last fall, the Club’s members applied their engineering skills by building and launching a rocket. Additionally, in collaboration with Infinity Robotics, they are working to create awareness of the business’s intent to establish a rocket launch pad in Minnesota. Marco also serves as the Student Ambassador to the Spaceport Project.

Building Research Skills Through MN Drive Internship

Through his Northstar STEM Alliance scholarship, Marco participated in a research internship under MnDrive. Working 20 hours per week, he conducted four hours of intense, hands-on lab work per day, focusing on using Pennycress as a viable cash crop and utilizing leftover seeds for pig feed.

Marco effectively showcased his excellent communication skills by successfully presenting his findings on this complex subject at a mini-symposium. He has a passion for research and is keen to collaborate with MnDrive again in the future.

Future Plans

Marco plans to transfer to the University of Minnesota in the fall, and major in Mechatronics or Robotics. Ideally, he would like to work for Infinity Robotics, before eventually establishing his own business.

Meanwhile, he credits Century College with helping him get a good start on an exciting career path. “Century’s faculty are top-notch. Megan Jaunich (Engineering) is an ex-NASA engineer, “Marco notes. “And, the College has many resources, such as the Fab Lab, which is a community resource.

“Class sizes are smaller, and the instructors are easy to reach–they keep regular office hours, Also, the Science Resource Center and Math Center are great!”


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