MechSE students attend Silicon Valley workshop


Taylor Tucker, MechSE Communications

Grad student Peter Jang met with representatives from Tesla during the workshop.
Grad student Peter Jang met with representatives from Tesla during the workshop.
Two mechanical engineering students were selected to participate in the Technology Entrepreneur Center’s annual Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Workshop.

Sophomore Quinn Menzies and graduate student Peter Jang were among the 25 students from Illinois who attended the five-day workshop during winter break last month.

“The most valuable experience from the workshop was hearing about life lessons from so many successful individuals in the span of a week,” Jang said.

The workshop took place over winter break, during which attendees visited startups and leading technology companies as well as enjoyed networking opportunities with prominent alumni entrepreneurs.

TEC, which is an initiative under the College of Engineering, hosts the workshop with the aim of exposing students to technology entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership. Students come back to campus inspired and ready to bring back the skills and knowledge they gained to the Illinois community.

“I applied to this trip in hopes of learning the secret of what makes a successful entrepreneur,” Menzies said. “The one uniting factor among all these people is their drive to be the hardest working individual in the room.”

Some of the companies included Google, Tesla, and Yelp, as well as Bloom Energy, a company started by MechSE alumnus K.R. Sridhar, who earned his PhD in mechanical engineering from Illinois in 1990.

“It’s not a coincidence that there are multiple Illinois alumni out in Silicon Valley who all knew each other out of college,” Menzies said. “The point being that the people you surround yourself with in college are not only driving you to greater heights, but are going to be the ones who are there at the drop of a hat to help you pursue your dreams.”