York College student finds support to succeed in Mechanical Engineering program
The campus tour had just ended when David Eckhart ’21 and his parents decided they’d check out one more spot before leaving. They headed to the Kinsley Engineering Center on the far side of the York College of Pennsylvania campus, and it was that decision—a moment to dig a little deeper—that sealed it for Eckhart.
There, he met Stephen Kuchnicki, PhD, Chair of the Mechanical Engineering program. While Kuchnicki took the time to show Eckhart the high-tech labs and state-of-the-art classrooms, it was the nearly two hours that he spent showing him the course guide, discussing scheduling, and talking about career opportunities that made an impression.
“That gave me a great example of what I could get at York College,” Eckhart says. “That one-on-one attention and the personal relationship was important to me. I knew that I’d found something unique here.”
Eckhart always had a fascination with how things worked. While he admits he never got “too crazy” with building things on his own, if someone was throwing out an old telephone, he’d save it from the rubble to see if he could take it apart and learn how it worked.
He considered studying computers, but the satisfaction of working with his hands led him to Mechanical Engineering. As early as his incoming year, he was able to dive into projects that expanded his knowledge of how things worked while giving him an opportunity to create.
“Engineering has really taught me how to approach a challenge,” he says. “We’re often given a concept and that’s it. It’s up to me to create the next steps that get me to an end goal.”
Developing his skills in engineering was just one of Eckhart’s goals. He also wanted to find opportunities to stretch himself and become a leader. As a first-year student, he joined the Campus Activities Board and helped plan events for students. Soon after, he ran and was elected to Student Senate, on which he served for almost three years.
Eckhart became a Student Alumni Ambassador, where he joined the Road Crew and traveled to different states to bridge the gap between alumni and students. He even sat on the Student Welfare Committee, where he learned to examine matters and recommend policy concerning academic standards and student life.
He worked to introduce other prospective students to the opportunities they might find in the Kinsley Engineering Center. As an Orientation Leader and later an Orientation Coordinator, Eckhart helped visiting high school juniors and seniors explore the possibilities of a York College education.
“It meant a lot to be able to show students the engineering opportunities, but also everything else that York College offers,” he says. “There is no shortage when it comes to learning here. If you want to push yourself to grow, York College will help you do that.”