Dillon Hopke’s early fascination in the field of STEMM lead him on a path of success at UW-Stout. A senior anticipating his graduation in December 2018, Hopke maintains an excellent GPA while balancing two majors, three minors, and a social life.
Hopke began his student career at UW-Stout majoring in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, but said, “I didn’t feel that’s what I wanted to be doing.” When the College of STEMM added its Mechanical Engineering degree, Hopke remembered his parents and teachers in high school encouraging him to pursue engineering. He quickly realized where his real interests lay.
“I like to make and build things. I like to come up with new ideas. Once I get motivated on a problem, I could spend hours trying to solve it just to prove to myself I can do it. I also like fixing things which has resulted in me being a family handyman of sorts.”
As he started his new studies in mechanical engineering, Hopke’s interests expanded and he took on a second degree. “The B.S. Engineering Technology program helped me to gain a better idea of both sides of the coin; the building and the business aspects of engineering,” Hopke explained. “And my concentration in Electrical has taught me how electrical engineering ties into everything we build.”
With two majors already on his plate, Hopke decided to add more. He is minoring in Mathematics, Physics, and Material Science. When asked why he would take on so many pursuits, he shrugged and said, “I just like learning. If I find something interesting, I want to learn everything there is to know about it.” He finds his diverse studies in STEMM helps him to understand the individual fields better. “All of these general concepts and cross-overs give me a broad spectrum of how systems work together,” he said.
Aside from his own studies, Hopke makes time to tutor his peers in physics, mentoring roughly 40 students a week. He is a former member of Engineers Without Borders and completed his internship at Rice Lake Weighing Systems where he worked as an electrical testing engineer and mechanical automation engineer. He also makes sure to take time for himself. He enjoys playing pool and video games with friends and reading manga.
Reflecting on the relations he’s built at UW-Stout, Hopke is thankful for the personal bonds he’s created with his instructors. “Coming from a small rural town, I grew to appreciate the connections I made with the teachers. They are friendly and willing to talk about topics you aren't sure about but are also willing to talk about other exciting things going on outside of school. There are always people willing to support you and help you to succeed and excel, provided you also put forth the effort.”
His instructors share the same positive opinion of Hopke as he does for them. “Dillon has supported the Engineering and Technology Department as a tutor and teaching assistant for a variety of subjects,” reflects Professor and Program Director Monika Herrmann. “In addition to his sharp mind, his patience and his smile have certainly benefitted many of his peers and the instructors he worked with. I could always count on Dillon to show up, rain or shine, and find a creative solution to an issue at hand.”
Hopke sees his education at UW-Stout as a huge advantage when starting his professional career. “My employer will know I have actual hands-on experience,” he said. “I can begin my career with full competence.”
After graduation, Hopke hopes to work in mechanical design or as a technical problem solver for Epic Software Company.