ISU MCA Prepares Students for the Real World

06/06/2019   In MCAI News

The Iowa State University Mechanical Contractors Association student chapter (ISU MCA) provides ISU student members an abundance of opportunities to advance their skills and passion in construction and mechanical engineering. The ISU MCA student chapter at Iowa State is one of 60 student chapters affiliated with the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) and is sponsored by the Mechanical Contractors Association of Iowa (MCAI). The chapter holds monthly meetings where industry leaders present and offer industry insight. The chapter also organizes professional development activities and job site tours, promotes communication and networking, expands students’ knowledge and skills in the mechanical industry and much more.

The MCAI sponsors the ISU MCA Student Chapter in an effort to cultivate an understanding and appreciation of mechanical contracting and to help youth sharpen their skills in the industry. We help support chapter events such as the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) industry socials, the annual fundraiser golf outing, trips to the MCAA Great Futures Forum and the MCAA National Convention. We also invite students to participate in MCAI education and networking events. 

Our involvement with the student chapter’s annual fundraiser golf outing serves as an important opportunity for ISU MCA student members and MCAI contractor, associate and affiliate members to network. Money raised from the golf outing helps fund student participation at professional development events such as the MCAA Great Futures Forum and MCAA National Convention.

In addition to the educational and networking opportunities available, ISU MCA student members also have the opportunity to apply for and earn scholarships from MCAI. Construction and mechanical engineering students who show perseverance, enthusiasm and academic excellence in their fields of study are eligible for these scholarships. This year’s scholarship recipients are three talented ISU construction engineering students and one Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Pre-Engineering student who will enroll in the ISU Construction Engineering program in 2020. We would like to congratulate the following scholarship recipients — Sadie Brockett (ISU), Campbell Mallak (ISU), Andrew Roys (ISU), and Cole Perkins (DMACC).

In 2018, the ISU MCA Student Chapter was recognized as the MCAA Student Chapter of the Year, and faculty advisor, Brad Perkins, was named the MCAA’s Educator of the Year.

The MCAA facilitates an annual Student Chapter Competition, where students put their classroom learning and internship experience to the test as they create a bid for a real-life mechanical construction project. The projects can incorporate BIM, green requirements, mechanical service and new technologies, to name a few. For the past two years, the ISU MCA student chapter has placed in the Top 10 nationally and has been awarded Certificates of Merit for their outstanding efforts.

Campbell Mallak, President of the ISU MCA student chapter, is a strong advocate of ISU MCA and MCAI’s affiliation, stating the partnership helps students gain access to more opportunities for advancing their careers in mechanical contracting and helps put their names on the radar in the industry. 

“Personally, without the MCA student chapter, I would know nothing about the industry,” Campbell said. “Ever since I have been involved in MCA, I have a better understanding of the role of mechanical contractors, and my motivation to work in the industry has grown immensely.”

ISU MCA student chapter members’ dedication and passion in construction and mechanical engineering is a reminder to us the industry is booming.

Brittany Gronewold, the 2018 president of the ISU MCA student chapter, shares her experience with the organization and how it helped prepare her for her new role at The Waldinger Corporation.

  1. Why did you find the ISU MCA student chapter helpful? The student chapter helped me meet students with similar interests as myself and gave me a space to develop myself both as a student leader and a young professional. 

  2. What are some things you learned by being a part of the student chapter? I learned how to work as a team beyond the classroom, including how to lead and how to follow. It also taught me a lot about the mechanical industry in Iowa and across the nation.

  3. Tell us about your current position with Waldinger. I work as a project engineer in Waldinger’s Mechanical Department, working primarily in Special Projects.

  4. How did your involvement with the student chapter help you find a job? I received an interview during an event jointly hosted by the MCA and NECA student chapters that led to my first internship with Waldinger. This MEP industry social brought students and industry representatives together.

  5. What is your favorite memory from your time with the student chapter? I would have to say accepting the award for MCAA Student Chapter of the Year. It had never even crossed our minds that we might win the award, and it was such an amazing and humbling experience.

  6. How do you think you grew as an individual/professional from being involved with the student chapter? The ISU MCA student chapter provided me a safe space to develop my sense of self and allowed me to grow naturally. Many times, I was put outside my comfort zone and forced to grow, and that helped me become the person I am today.

We are proud to sponsor and support the ISU MCA student chapter. For decades we’ve seen ISU Construction Engineering students thrive in the industry working as interns, co-ops and full-time employees for our MCAI member firms and at MCAA member contractors throughout the country. Since 2000, nearly 70 students have been awarded MCAI scholarships totaling over $75,000. We’re excited by the success of the ISU MCA student chapter and look forward to seeing past, present and future members of the organization advance in their careers for many years to come.