Student Spotlight: Nathaly Samper
Nathaly Samper knew she wanted to study engineering. She just wasn’t sure what field to pursue – or where to pursue it.
However, after receiving College of DuPage’s Presidential Scholarship, Samper knew she had found the right place was for her.
“College of DuPage was the economically smart choice,” she said. “Also, as part of the scholarship, I was involved with the Honors Program, which motivated me to maintain a strong GPA. So I knew my educational future would not be hindered in any way. Instead, being at COD was a huge stepping stone toward my career goal.”
While at COD, she discovered chemistry and participated in an internship at Packer Engineering, where she worked on its innovative Green Fuels Depot project, which converted agricultural and yard trimmings into energy. This work helped Samper decide to pursue mechanical engineering and specialize in alternative energies. Her decision was heartily supported by her professors.
“Honestly, to this day, my favorite professors are the ones I had at COD,” she said. “The classes were smaller and professors took a personal interest in us, something I greatly appreciated. Many professors at COD helped me by giving me advice for the future, setting up networking opportunities, and even giving me the opportunity for internships in areas I was interested in.
“I had no problem transferring to Purdue University, where I could finish my four-year degree in Mechanical Engineering. Also, COD set up a great foundation to work from once I was at Purdue. It helped me reach my career goals because I was able to intern at Northwestern University in its MRSEC program, thanks to Professor Richard Jarman, and attain hands-on experience.”
While at Purdue, Samper obtained a summer internship at Hobart Brothers, ITW. She joined a multicultural sorority, Omega Phi Beta Sorority, and served as its president. She also studied abroad in China, which provided invaluable experience and helped her think more globally.
Purdue also selected Samper as part of its “5 Students Who Move the World Forward” campaign, posting an interview with her online and even hanging posters around campus with her photo. She considered it a great honor and a major opportunity to network with both peers and alumni.
Samper graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. After taking a little time off to travel, she obtained a job at Frigel North American in East Dundee, an Italian company that specializes in process cooling for plastic injection molding, blow molding, thermoforming and extrusions.
“Our Ecodry 3DK closed loop adiabatic liquid cooler is designed to replace traditional cooling towers and reduce water and energy consumption,” she said. “Since my time at COD, I realized I wanted to go into a field that focused on alternative energies and innovative technology, and that’s exactly what I found with Frigel. I have the opportunity to apply my design abilities by integrating our equipment with our customer needs through 3D and 2D modeling software, as well as build and enhance my project management abilities and learn how to work globally with our offices and customers around the world.
In 2016, she traveled to Italy and worked for two months at Frigel’s headquarters located in Scandicci. Samper loved the full immersion experience into the language and culture. She is now a project engineer, managing seven to 10 projects at once and embracing the challenges that come with the position.
“Because of my experience in Italy, I learned our new controls and actually do my own start-ups. It has exponentially grown my experience and knowledge being on the field and having to start-up and troubleshoot a system on my own,” she said. “I’m usually on the road about half of the month, and I hope to continue to grow in the company and learn even more as we get new products.”
Because she credits College of DuPage for providing a strong base for her education and career, Samper advises students to start at COD.
“The programs provide a great foundation toward whichever degree you choose,” she said. “My biggest piece of advice is if you know you want to transfer to a university and finish your degree, make a list of schools you want to attend. Then start working with COD’s counselors and the transfer universities' counselors to make sure that as many of your classes transfer and you are doing everything you need so you won’t fall behind.”
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2018 College of DuPage