Kagan Bixler
Student, Class of 2025

Extracurricular Activities

Fencing - March 2017 to December 2019: Training in 3 swords (saber, foil, épée) with a focus on épée fencing. Exploring Careers in Aviation Summer Program - June 2019 to July 2019: Rigorous team-oriented program exploring the aviation industry and related career fields. Oregon Tech Fencing Club President - October 2020 to March 2023: Responsible for training club members in épée fencing, facilitation of on-boarding new officers, and management of club resources. Oregon Tech Rocketry and Aerospace club - Member from September 2020 to June 2022, ASOIT Representative from June 2022 to March 2023: Active member with weekly participation in club meetings. Eventually elected to serve as the club's ASOIT representative, bridging club members with resources and information provided by student government. Oregon Tech Financial Allocations Committee Volunteer - February 2022 to March 2023: Acted as the Social and Recreational Clubs Representative on the allocations committee for student clubs. Tasked with providing the perspective of a recreational student club leader on allocation discussions. Oregon Tech New Student Housing Committee Volunteer - January 2023 to March 2023: Provided the perspective of an experienced student staff member within Housing and Residence Life as it relates to the construction of a new student dorm.

A Little Bit About Me

Growing up I took interest in fencing and in the aerospace field, pursuing both areas through formal experiences. I was not able to maintain either interest at the onset of the pandemic, but quietly obtained a general associate degree before transferring to Oregon Tech. I began at Oregon Tech during the height of the pandemic and with encouragement from the university, I elected to challenge myself through early leadership roles. I renewed my interests by joining a club on aerospace, and by founding a club on fencing. As I developed confidence, I started as a Resident Advisor in my second year. I established lasting commitments and have worked in the years since to enhance my own abilities. I have learned to enjoy teaching others and have tailored my involvements accordingly.

Why I Chose Oregon Tech and My Major

I chose to major in mechanical engineering due to my strong interests in aerospace. A degree in mechanical engineering will provide me with a broad foundation that will allow me to further specialize in this field. I chose this field as I believe advancement in aerospace will bring about advancement in other areas, ultimately resulting in a higher quality of life. I believe that majoring in mechanical engineering will let me do work that benefits the world. I chose Oregon Tech primarily for the MECOP internship program and am currently on my first internship with the Boeing Company. Second, the size of the school was desirable. I am able to interact directly with professors which is a major advantage.

My Influential Professors

The most influential professor I have had at Oregon Tech is Dr. David Culler. I have had Dr. Culler for several classes, in all of which I greatly enjoyed. I believe that the first class I took with this professor is the best example. I took a machining class with Dr. Culler early on in my academic career and struggled with the projects. I worked through operations slowly and had to rework mistakes often. Dr. Culler prevented me from falling behind however, offering support and additional lab hours outside of those scheduled. I spent almost every Saturday that term in the shop working on projects and was successfully able to pass the course. In every class I take with Dr. Culler, I develop a strong understanding of the course material and regularly find applications for it outside the classroom. For example, I am currently out in industry and am utilizing programming skills and geometric tolerancing skills that I developed in different classes taught by Dr. Culler.

My Greatest Learning Experience At Oregon Tech

I joined Oregon Tech's Residence Life team first as a Resident Advisor, before rejoining the team as a Senior Resident Advisor. I will rejoin as a Senior Head Resident my senior year. Through this work, I gained professional competency in areas related to conflict management and communication. I grew confidence in my ability through numerous leadership and collaborative opportunities. I am currently out in industry where I draw heavily on the skills, confidence and lessons that I learned from my time with housing.

My Plans After Graduation

After graduating, I hope to go on to work within the aerospace industry, specifically on or around exploratory satellite systems. As I go into my senior year, I hope to explore this area in depth and begin to develop a more specialized background within it. As I advance academically, I take a lot of inspiration from missions I read about growing up, such as the Cassini Huygens mission. I would like to be involved in the design of the next generation of these feats of engineering.