Spotlight on Engineering Alumni: Mike Levine

Name: Mike Levine
Age: 25
Education (UR and additional): B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Rochester, 2010
Current city/state of residence: Green Island, NY
Job Title: Process Technician – Epitaxial Growth
Employer: Crystsal -IS ( a subsidiary of Asahi Kasei)
Activities: live concerts, bowling, shooting, other things that are fun.

Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

I chose the University of Rochester immediately after attending an open house fall of my senior year of High school. I had visited and was seriously considering four or five other schools with comparable engineering programs in the Northeast, and until that open house, I felt indifferent to my collegiate destination.   I felt any of these places will get the job done, prepare me, and enable me with an engineering mindset.  The thing that made U of R stand out and made me want to attend here was the freedom I was handed to shape and build my own curriculum as I saw fit.   A University that respects and trusts its students with the core of their joint purpose was a place I wanted to be.

When and how did you choose your major?

I had always been interested in math and science and, to be completely honest, I cannot ever remember making or thinking about making this decision.  I just know that at some point towards the end of high school, I had a keen idea that I would major in mechanical engineering for a few reasons.  It fit my interests, and I knew that mechanical engineering is made from a knowledge base that does not become outdated and is always useful no matter what the situation, and the sheer number of things in every room, of every building that have at some point had a mechanical engineer have something to do with is massive.  Suffice to say, they will always be a demand for them.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

Working with event support not only taught me about live production, sound mixing, and theatrical lighting, but I had far too much fun to really call it work. Also, I was with MERT for two years, gaining both an EMT certification and an environment to learn about, practice, and consider emergency medicine.  An event support job at the end of my freshman year got me involved with UR ITP’s Todd Theater, first working as a light board operator, Assistant Master Electrician, Master Electrician, before joining Drama House and then The Opposite Of People Theater Company as Technical Officer and Technical Director respectively.  The list of skills, lessons, friends, and pride I have taken away from my work at Todd & TOOP is simply too numerous to contemplate listing.

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

I went to work at the summer camp I worked at after graduating high school.  This time, I was working as a unit director supervising counselors, which is the position I held five years ago.  I chose this job because I loved the camp and the history I had with it.  I liked that it gave me a place to live and time to figure out my next move.  I had not rushed into any particular job or career path. I was still busy with school.  This gave me a reward, a buffer, and a job, which is quite the trio.

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

Now, I work for Crystal-IS in Green Island, NY as an Epitaxial Growth Process Technician.  The choice was easy. It was something I was overqualified for and interested in.  More importantly, my over-qualification has ended up being a positive thing, for while our company expands and undergoes change, it allows my manager to evolve my position with the needs of the company and my interests.

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

Both my major and my work in technical theater helped me learn the ability to problem solve, address truly unique problems, plan and yet remain flexible, and understand that ,as cliché as it is, anything can be accomplished if the needed time and resources are spent.

Where would you like to be in five years?

Either in the pit lane of any Formula one race, or on a yacht trackside at the Monaco Grand Prix.

How are you still connected with the University?

I am an active audience member, donor, and alumnus of TOOP coming to see shows as they are put on. Also, I keep reading about UR or the things its students/faculty are accomplishing in the news.

What advice do you have for current students?

Find the thing that makes you excited to work, in school or professional life.  Know that failures will happen, so learn from them, and through them, learn to trust yourself.  The confidence you will gain is empowering, so work toward that goal, and try not to worry about much else.