“He’s like a kid in a candy shop; wide-eyed and excited about everything” reports Wilkes University sophomore Daniel Lykens, referring to his Digital Design and Mechatronics instructor, Professor John Gilmer. “I guess that’s why we’re similar – we’re both really excited about this stuff.”
The connection is mutual. “He’s a terrific young man – very enthusiastic.” adds Dr. Gilmer.
In fact, Dan felt a connection with Dr. Gilmer and the Wilkes University Engineering department right from the beginning. On a visit to campus during his senior year in high school, Dan remembers what set Wilkes apart from other schools he was considering.
“I knew I would fit well here. The professors actually let us play with the equipment during our tour of the labs.”
That hands-on approach has helped Dan grow as student and has fostered his creativity. Dual majoring in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering with minors in Integrated Media, Computer Engineering and Physics may seem odd to some, but Dan explains that many of his fields of study overlap and provide him with insight that he’s used on many of his ambitious projects, like building his own 3D printer, a project which Dan completed on his own over Holiday Break.
“Dan worked on the 3D printer project just to do something creative”, recalls Dr. Gilmer. “He’s very special and very motivated.”
Dan remembers that Dr. Gilmer approached him after his 3D printer demonstration and complimented him on his new device and experimentation.
“Dr. Gilmer gives you creative license with your projects. He encourages you to experiment without just giving you the answer. He wants you to learn from your mistakes and failures, so that you learn from them.”
Dan has discovered that the mentoring opportunities he’s received from professors like Dr. Gilmer allow him to aspire to do more everyday.
“The sky is the limit here. You can do whatever you wish to do in order to complete your project or continue your research. Wilkes professors give you the opportunity to reach your own conclusions. Professor Gilmer doesn’t just teach engineering - he lets you live it.”
Dr. Gilmer recently outlined an opportunity for creativity while discussing possible semester projects with Dan and his classmates. That discussion led to the prospect of several students building their own working calculators.
“I’ve thought of doing it before before, but Dan and his classmates ran with it”, recalls Dr. Gilmer. “It’s great to have students like that.”
So, how is the digital calculator design coming along?
“I’m working on programming the logic device now,” says Dan. “I’ve learned so much this year with Dr. Gilmer. I know the project is going to be a success.”