Alex Newkirk

Major: Mechanical Engineering

What year you graduated: 2022

Preferred pronouns: He/Him

Alex Newkirk

Q: Why did you choose your major?

Newkirk: My desire to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering was initiated by an interest in the Energy and Infrastructure industries. The focus on applying physics into design and fabrication was something that pulled me to the major as well.

Q: What was your favorite course or instructor?

Newkirk: I thoroughly enjoyed my time learning from Dr. Alan Fox, whose courses pushed me outside of the STEM bubble many engineering students find themselves in.

Q: Tell us about your experience with any extracurriculars outside of the classroom.

Newkirk: Throughout my time at the University of Delaware, I was a project manager with Engineers Without Borders. The organization introduced me to practical engineering project management within a global environment. At local and global levels, students in the organization are able to develop their ability to communicate and connect with others through service.

I was also involved with the UD Club Sailing team, serving as treasurer my senior year. The club allowed me to spend some time outdoors during the week, and also connected me with a great group of people.

Q: What was your favorite study location or hang-out spot on campus?

Newkirk: My favorite place to work on projects was the UD MakerGym, and I loved grabbing a coffee at Little Goat.

Q: What got you interested in the Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP)?

Newkirk: I was drawn to GCSP when first applying to UD, as it seemed like a program that would fulfill my desire to work on societal problems.

Q: What additional projects, experiences or classes did you participate in as part of GCSP?

Newkirk: My work with Engineers Without Borders involved implementing and monitoring a water chlorination system in the Philippines, which fell under the GCSP challenge “provide access to clean water.”

Through energy and grid related courses, I was able to connect with multiple other challenges like “make solar economical,” “provide energy from fusion,” and “restore and improve urban infrastructure.”

Q: What advice do you have for anyone who is thinking about becoming a GCSP student?

Newkirk: I strongly recommend you look through the National Academy of Engineering’s page on the GCSP program and identify if any of the challenges resonate with you. If you are interested in shaping your education to best prepare yourself for the biggest problems of our society, this is a great program to be involved in.