Nathan McClain is a 2016 graduate from Blue Valley High School. He is currently a student at Kansas State University majoring in engineering. He attended CAPS for three semesters beginning 2nd semester his junior year. Here are Nathan’s reflections on his time at CAPS:
Going into high school, I had a relatively good idea that I wanted to be an engineer. Being at CAPS and seeing the progress I could make in high school with projects that had tangible results definitely confirmed that I would be going into engineering. CAPS has a strong network at K-State and I am always seeing people I knew from CAPS around campus.
CAPS prepared me for college in different ways than my high school did. While high school prepared me academically, CAPS trained me professionally. This not only extends to how to address professors or business partners, but also how to professionally address emails and other communication methods. CAPS in particular taught me the importance of motivating yourself and keeping yourself accountable, even when nobody is watching.
My biggest takeaway from CAPS is that you should be confident enough to work by yourself, but aware enough to know when to ask for help. College is a lot more independent work outside of the classroom, and it is your responsibility to ask for help, which CAPS mirrored extremely well.
CAPS also allowed me to pursue an internship in engineering. My senior year, both semesters, I had the opportunity to intern at Kiewit Energy Group during what would be my CAPS time (7:30-9:45). I would travel there 4 times a week and work on projects alongside professional engineers and mentors. I worked in the mechanical engineering process improvement team where I worked on updating documents, writing tutorials, and fixing toolboxes so that the work of other engineers would be easier. I also learned valuable soft skills that I could apply to my professional life. After completing his school year internship at Kiewit, Nathan was selected to participate in the Kiewit Summer LEAD internship program.