Colombia Purdue Initiative — CPI

Juan Manuel Uribe Perez profile picture


BSc in Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University


What was your major and how did you become interested in it?
I chose to study mechanical engineering for two reasons; the most important one was that it is the broadest engineering, which gives me a very broad field of action. My aim is to pair it with an MBA in the future so that I can take a managerial role at my family’s company in Medellín. The second reason is that my father is also a mechanical engineer from the Facultad de Minas. He has influenced my life in many ways and inspires me. I still try to be like him.

Tell us about some of the projects you worked on during your studies.
I worked on some very interesting projects during my senior and junior years related to my favorite branches of mechanical engineering: mechanics and control systems. For control systems, I had to implement a compensator for a system that would use a cart controlled by a servo motor to balance a seesaw. In mechanics, I had to model a gearbox to be able to supply the specified mechanical advantage and design the size of each gear and pinion. It was a very open-ended project that required many calculations and diligence to the task.
While I did not work on a thesis, my senior design project had an international focus. I was part of a global design engineering team where we were presented with a list of issues in developing countries. From there, we had to choose a topic to work on. Our project involved designing a heat source to provide warmth to chicken coups in rural Nigeria where there is no access to electricity and cannot afford photovoltaic energy. After a great deal of effort, our team designed an attachment to the enclosure that our Nigerian stakeholder modeled for us. We were able to create a proof of concept in West Lafayette and felt it could make a noteworthy impact. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to solve the project to its entirety. Perhaps we can get the team together to complete the design!
"In my free time, I would spend time with my friends and play sports. One of my hobbies was going to the TREC (Turf Recreation and Exercise Center) to play pick up soccer games. On 2015, I got adventurous and ran the Purdue Half-Marathon!"
What were the most difficult and the most gratifying aspects of your time at Purdue?
The most difficult part of my four years was staying up until very late studying for difficult exams and working on a final project.
The most gratifying part was the friendships I made and the exposure I had to different cultures. I learned a great deal from the many people I met while doing my undergrad.
What are your plans after graduation?
I currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina. I will be working in the American office of a German optical metrology company called GOM as an applications engineer. I am waiting for work authorization approval so I can start working. This position requires I learn measuring systems extremely well so I can help train our distributors or participate in customer visits.
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