Engineering & Applied Sciences

Alumni Profile

Jeffrey White

jeffrey whiteBS mechanical engineering '05

(Pursuing SM in mechanical engineering, MIT)

Current job: Lieutenant and engineering duty officer (presently a graduate student), U.S. Navy
Residence: Cambridge, MA
Family: Wife Marissa
Community activities: Community soccer team, MIT sailing center. Have also volunteered as high school soccer coach.

Why did you choose to attend the University ofRochester?

Rochester met all of my criteria – an excellent engineering program, a Navy ROTC program and a very competitive Division III soccer team.  More importantly all three organizations were very supportive of my different pursuits. Coach Apple pushed us for excellence on the field and in the classroom. The Navy ROTC Unit wanted us to choose a technical major and encouraged varsity sports. It was a perfect fit!

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I am an engineering duty officer for the U.S. Navy. Once I complete my graduate program I will go to work in one of the Navy's shipyards as a project officer for either new construction or maintenance/modernization of our ships. At Rochester, I was in the Navy ROTC program and spent the subsequent four years as a crew member on two different ships. In 2007 I was assigned as the navigator for a ship under construction and was exposed to the technical side of the Navy. Pursuing a career as an engineering duty officer allows me to combine my desire to continue my military service, but applying myself as an engineer.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

Without a doubt it is problem solving, which is a core tenant of engineering. At Rochester the ME department had several excellent lab courses that challenged us to develop our own approach to problem solving, and these are experiences I still draw on.

How do you balance your work and personal life?

The trick for me is deliberately making time for both. My first year in the Navy I had a boss who would sit us down with a 90-day calendar and show us his expectations for us in the near term – when we were going to be busy and when work would be light. He understood that we wanted to take time for ourselves, but he also gave us realistic expectations. I still keep a paper calendar on my desk and do this for my family.

What advice do you have for current Hajim School students about their time on campus, graduate study, or the first few years after college?

My best advice is to get out there and see things for yourself – travel, talk to people, get your hands dirty and take chances. The Navy has taken me to four continents and given me experiences I would likely not have had otherwise. For example, as a freshman I took ME 104Q where Professor Perucchio taught us about the Roman aqueduct at Pont Du Gard in the south of France – a 2000-year-old engineering marvel. Last year I had the opportunity to visit the site and was finally able to comprehend the magnitude of this incredible structure beyond any textbook or lecture. I only wish I hadn't waited 11 years to see it.