Joe Miranda

Joe Miranda

Hometown

Klamath Falls

Year

Senior

Major

B.S. Renewable Energy Engineering and B.S. Environmental Sciences


Why did you choose Oregon Tech?

I have lived in Klamath Falls since I was 6 years old and know of Oregon Tech's great reputation. After getting out of the Marine Corps in 2009 I found out that Oregon Tech had recently started a Renewable Energy Engineering program that I was definitely interested in; this program was one of a kind across the nation.

What does a scholarship mean to you?

Scholarships mean a lot to me and all other veterans. Even though there have been significant increases in the educational benefits that the Post 9/11 GI Bill awards to many veterans, there is still a need for outside monetary income for school tuition and fees. Scholarships allow all students and veterans the opportunity to live a more comfortable life during their progression through school while not having to worry as much about their next paycheck. This ease of tension allows for a more focused environment and, I believe, to more successful students.

What do you hope to do with his career?

My ultimate goal after obtaining my degrees will be to put my education to use in the Klamath Basin. I grew up in Klamath Falls and have been here my whole life other than the five years I honorably served in the United States Marine Corps. I would love to focus on bringing more geothermal applications into the basin because it is a nearly untapped renewable energy resource in this area that has a lot of potential for the future. This area provides me with a large opportunity to put my professional skills to use.

What do you like best about Oregon Tech?

What I admire most about Oregon Tech is the close relationships that I have established with many of my professors on campus. This is a huge advantage in the ultimate learning outcomes that are expected of all graduates. This is one opportunity that I feel is not possible at any number of larger institutions in the state, and even the country.

What do you find most challenging about being a student here?

The only challenging situations that I have found myself in while being a student at Oregon Tech have been of my own doing. I have thoroughly involved myself with many aspects of this campus including being a member of the Renewable Energy Engineering Club, one of eight active members of the Veterans Action Committee (VAC), the Executive Director of the Oregon Tech Veterans Association (OVA), a research aide in the Geo-Heat Center, and trying to obtain two B.S. degrees in only four years. The last three and half years have been extremely challenging, but only because Oregon Tech has provided me with so many opportunities to not only further my education, but to also be involved in many other areas I previously mentioned. I do not regret any of these challenging situations because they have only made me more confident in my abilities to achieve any goals that I have set forth for myself.

What is your favorite class?

Sustainability Science and Technology

Why?

This course has allowed me the opportunity to consolidate everything I have learned in renewable energy engineering over the past three and half years and mesh it with new and innovative technologies that promote sustainability for the future.

What do you think Oregon Tech offers to veterans?

When I first began school here in 2009, I had only been off of Marine Corps active duty for three weeks. At that time I was not looking for much around campus as far as veterans’ assistance. However, after only a term or two, I slowly began to realize that there were a lot of questions, including both educational benefits and medical benefits that I did not know the answers to. I did not know where to turn and had made a few other friends, all veterans, with the same issues. It was at this point that we decided we needed something on campus that could better provide these services for our student veterans. We started a veterans club back up, one that had not been active for quite a few years, and slowly began recruiting new members and working alongside our veterans certifying official to find answers to all of our questions. We were then able to spread the word to other veterans on campus by word of mouth much easier. In December of 2011, we were able to officially turn our veterans club into a program. Becoming a program allowed us to expand. We now have a larger budget for putting on various events that bring student veterans together. We have also obtained our own space on campus, a veterans resource center, where veterans can come to work on school work, relax and spend time with other veterans, send emails, fax documents to the VA, and most importantly, find quick answers to the same questions that I had when I was a freshman at Oregon Tech trying to transition out of the military back to the life of a civilian. We are now officially a veteran friendly school and were just recently presented a flag by Congressman Greg Walden for our devoted efforts to making our campus a great place for any and all veterans.

How do your experiences in the military fit with your educational path today and hopefully with your future career path?

I am very confident that the leadership abilities I learned while I was in the Marine Corps undoubtedly help me get to the position I am in today. I have been able to stay focused on my schoolwork and achieve all of the goals I have set forth for myself. I know that these successful trends will continue throughout the rest of my time at Oregon Tech as well as my future career path. Oregon Tech has only helped solidify what was instilled in me while in the Marine Corps.

What would you say to other veterans about getting their education?

First of all, I would unselfishly recommend Oregon Tech as an outstanding place to obtain their education, no matter their desired career path. I have had many veteran friends that went straight into a career after the military without going back to school to obtain a degree. The majority of these people have since quit their jobs and decided that an education is the best possible scenario for becoming successful in today’s job market. Whether theses veterans actually do choose Oregon Tech or not, choosing to further their education, in my opinion, is the best choice they could ever make in life. There are definitely some bumps along the way when obtaining a degree of higher education, but with the work myself and others have done on Oregon Tech’s campus, as well as all of the work that many other campus’s just like ours’ are doing, this process has become much more smooth and will only continue to improve.