Mechanical Engineering Major Wants to Use Skills to Help Others
Mason Norris ’24 dreams of combining his love of engineering with his passion for helping others.
Mason Norris ’24 grew up wanting to be an engineer and a doctor. As an Eagle Scout, he discovered he was good in a crisis, especially a medical one. “Because nothing ever goes smoothly,” he jokes. And he was obsessed with Lego blocks as a kid—sometimes following the directions, sometimes creating his own designs.
He followed that passion to York College of Pennsylvania, where he’s in his sophomore year studying Mechanical Engineering. One day, he hopes to use what he learns to land his dream job combining both childhood dreams, working with GE Healthcare.
The deciding factor
It was his senior year of high school, and Norris had his choice of college narrowed down to York College and one other school. He and his mom had back-to-back meetings scheduled with each school’s financial offices, starting at York College.
That meeting turned into a tour of the engineering building given not by a random guide, but by the Director of the Civil and Mechanical Engineering program. He knew all the students by name, stopping in classrooms and saying “hello” in hallways. That sealed the deal. “We put the deposit down that day,” Norris says.
He hasn’t been disappointed. His professors are accessible, with many even giving out their phone numbers to text if there’s an urgent need. And their doors are open well beyond office hours. “It’s a really good community,” he says. “It’s definitely what I saw when I visited that day.”
Making his family proud
Norris is a first-generation student. He never felt pressured, but it’s a big deal to his family that he’s pursuing a college degree. “My family is really proud of me, and I have so much support,” he says.
At York College, he’s a STEM Scholar and an Engaged Scholar. Both emphasize working with students from other disciplines. Some projects he’s worked on have focused on innovation and improving the York College community. An upcoming course explores entrepreneurship.
One of his groups is even designing software to help people who are blind. It’s still in the design phase, but it’s the kind of project he wouldn’t have the opportunity to explore without these programs.
A musical outlet
If he’s not at work building something or collaborating on a project, you’ll probably find Norris in a rehearsal space. Norris plays trumpet, and he got a scholarship to play with the wind ensemble at York College. It’s not just a financial motivator—it’s a stress reliever.
When Norris plays music, everything else just fades into the background. His brain is active, but it’s focusing on the music. It’s a break from the physics homework and the technical thinking. It’s relaxing. “Music is my biggest escape from everything,” he says.
His trumpet section, they joke around and have a good time. It’s where he’s made some of his best friends. “I feel like music people are my kind of people,” he says.
He’s a member of the chorale and an informal band on campus, too. He had a great time last year, but this year he’s excited to get back into live performances. “I just feel really good when I’m making music here,” he says.
Building his future
Just like when he was a kid, Norris isn’t focused on just one thing he wants to do at York College. He’s looking for a club sport to join next semester to add to the music and engineering. “Every activity I do I put my all into it,” he says.
His dream of working for GE Healthcare is still driving him. He imagines himself building an MRI machine or coming up with the casing for a new prosthetic—creating the mechanical aspects of something that could have a profound impact on another person’s life.
“It would bridge my two dreams as a kid,” he says.
York College supports students as they work to turn career dreams into reality. Some 99% of new, full-time students receive financial assistance or scholarships. A variety of scholarships and grants are available, based on both merit and financial need.