Design, Build, Create!

Jonathan Montague '22, Ardsley, NY

Hi, I'm Jonathan, Class of 2022 and a Mechanical Engineering major. I choose Olin because of its incredible style and uniqueness. Olin’s project and team-based curriculum really spoke to me in terms of engineering.

I was instantly blown away by the facilities and the ability to easily get involved in the shop spaces. 

When touring Olin, I learned that students could check out screwdrivers, hammers, and other tools from the library. This gave me the impression that students here loved to make things and the college encouraged it. I fell in love with the idea that I could go to a school where making useful and team-based projects was highly valued

Beyond schoolwork, I work on campus and do a lot of individual activities. Currently, I am working for the Olin Shop in the woodshop. This is an extraordinary job since it gives me the opportunity to work with and teach students. I am also working to help students learn Fusion 360 and improve their CADing skills.

There are a lot of activates that I am passionate about. Recently, I became involved in ice skating and now go to the skating rink every week. I joined the ceramics studio and spend time the working on the pottery wheel and make ceramic bowls. 

I constantly have multiple woodworking projects in progress, such as cutting boards, wooden bowls, and stools.

But the three or four things I'm really passionate about are:

  • Engineering - Making stuff!
  • Woodworking – furniture, kitchen items, games
  • Ceramics – Wheel throwing
  • Crocheting/Weaving
  • Adventuring to new places

I love that Olin provides the opportunity to design, build and create even the craziest ideas. Looking back I am astonished by the wide range of projects I could take part in and take ownership of. Much of the knowledge and skills I have acquired came from this hands-on experience, often in unexpected ways.

At Olin, I am constantly surrounded by people similar to me who are passionate and looking to take on the next big challenge. 

Olin encourages students to take the content they learn and apply it to solve problems. The best way to do this is to work in a collaborative environment and engage with people, design, manufacturing, and other often overlooked topics.

Olin also has this mindset about “doing” that other schools often lack.

Olin teaches students not only how to do engineering, but why we do it. Here we focus on designing with people in mind. Since the things we do and the things we make will affect real people, it is critical that we make good design decisions and think about how we can help people in the most productive way. 

One of my FAVORITE Olin memories is the time I came to visit as a prospective student. Before even being accepted to Olin, I really got to understand the students here. On my visit...

I had the chance to help a student with an art project he was working on, and later went adventuring with a group of students.

They were extremely welcoming, interesting and passionate. I talked to many of them about the projects they were working on and in turn, they were also really interested in my passions and projects. 

These students are now my friends and I still thank them for being one of the reasons why I am here. 

Thinking of being here, at such a unique and innovative place and picturing Olin as a tool, I'd say it would be a CNC machine! (I guess I really love manufacturing!)