Joe at SMU

Name: Joe Hutchinson

Major/Graduation Year: Civil Engineering, May 2017

Hometown: Topeka, KS

Why did I choose to study engineering at Lyle? I have always been one to seek out and accept challenges. When I first got to SMU, I did not have any idea what my major would be. After lengthy consideration and exploration into other majors, I decided that Civil Engineering would be the major to challenge me throughout my years at SMU. I have been challenged academically like I would not have imagined when I first got to SMU, but I have found that perseverance has been my ally and protector through my studies. What I enjoy the most about engineering is the certainty that I will learn something new every day, be it in the classroom, in my studies, or at work.

What is your favorite extracurricular activity?  My favorite extracurricular activity is singing in my A Cappella group, Southern Gentlemen. I have been a part of Southern Gentlemen since the first month I got to SMU in August 2012. I am currently the President of the group, and manage it through rehearsals, singing gigs, and events at SMU. Singing is one of my great passions and I thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie and challenge of leading a group of my peers to create incredible music. From singing at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library to honoring America with the Star Spangled Banner at Dallas Mavericks games to the simplest pop-up performances in Mac’s Place on the SMU campus, singing in Southern Gentlemen has provided some of the highlights of my college career. 

Favorite Engineering Class?  My favorite engineering class has been Fluid Mechanics. Though it was difficult, I worked as hard as I possibly could on fluid mechanics to master the course material. There were plenty of late nights spent solving seemingly impossible problems. There were times that I would be frustrated that I couldn’t figure out the process of solving a problem. But every time, I would slow down, go back to what I was taught, and work my way through, studying notes and reading the textbook as I went. My favorite parts of the course were the many moments that I broke out of my struggling and frustration and learned how to solve the problem. By the end of the course, and now, I can say with confidence that I can solve fluid mechanics problems. 

Favorite Place in Dallas? I have visited the Dallas Museum of Art twice in the past month, and I plan to return soon. Only recently discovering the arts district downtown and Klyde Warren Park is a product of spending way too much time indoors studying or working. Dallas is a fantastic city to explore, and every time I go adventuring, I find something new. Some of my favorite restaurants I discovered by chance, word of mouth, or random excursions with friends. Near the very top of my list is lying down on the Dallas Hall lawn with a book on a pleasant afternoon. Staying right on campus can be one of the most relaxing things there is to do.

Favorite SMU Moment? The most exciting SMU moment that I was a part of was the opening of the Bush Presidential Library. All five living presidents attended the event, there were thousands of people, and there was a huge celebration surrounding the event. Southern Gentlemen sang some of our songs to a crowd of several thousand people as entertainment before the Presidential speeches began. To top off the day, there was a fantastic fireworks show right on the Bush Center that evening. I’ll never forget the lights, sounds, and the overall proceedings of the event that day. Just to be there was truly remarkable. To have the Bush Presidential Library on the SMU campus is an incredible resource that will serve the school well in years to come. 

What advice would I give to a prospective engineering student or someone who is thinking about studying engineering? Go for it. If you think you have any interest at all in engineering, enroll in some engineering classes. Talk to friends or upperclassmen who are studying engineering. There is no way to truly know if engineering is right for you unless you experience it. I didn’t know that I would enjoy engineering so intensely until I began studying it my Sophomore year. I truly enjoy what I am doing and want students with any interest or curiosity in engineering to give it a shot as I did. 


Reid ArnoldName: Reid Arnold

Major: Environmental Engineering Class of 2017

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

Why did I choose Lyle: The opportunities that are in the DFW area are next to none. Many of the colleges that I looked at didn’t support their students the way Lyle does, and I wanted that in a university. I’ve been able to find internships and make connections with the business world that I would not have had the opportunity to do outside of SMU and Lyle.

Favorite Extracurricular: The involvement I have in my fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha, has be my favorite thing. From the philanthropies that I’ve been involved in, to the intramural sports, it’s been one of the best choices I’ve made since coming to college.

Favorite Class: 100% the first year design class. No other class do you get to connect with classmates and design a robot. It’s truly an incredible class.

Favorite Place in Dallas: White Rock Lake. It’s only about a 10 minute drive from SMU and in the fall when the temperature starts to dip down it’s a great place to spend a morning and relax.

Favorite moment: My first boulevard. It’s a tradition at SMU that is hard to come by at other schools and the first one I went to was a special one.

Advice: I come from a family where 2 of my brothers were engineers, so for me engineering made sense. I loved design, and technology however I wasn’t sure what type of engineering I wanted to go into. Each field is so diverse and special that it can be overwhelming to decide what to pick, so my advice for students thinking about studying engineering is to follow what interests you. One job my pay more, or something might come easier for you, but at the end of the day you need to do what you love. It may sound cliché when I say this, but it’s true. I was able to find what I wanted to do and it’s great to know what I’m learning interests me and keeps me motivated to learn more.