Dual Degree Student Voices

John Fratinardo

John Fratinardo
Laupahoehoe, Hawai‘i

Dual Degree Program

BS Math, 2015
Hawai‘i Pacific University

BS Mechanical Engineering (2015)
Washington University at Saint Louis)
(Affiliate Scholarship)
(Gustav Kurt Mesmer Scholarship
)

I first found out about HPU through the many local television commercials and radio advertisements. After a little research during the time of my graduation from high school, the university seemed to be making a push to enroll more students from Hawai‘i and that really attracted me.

I chose to come to HPU because it was financially feasible. As a Hawai‘i resident, I was offered a generous academic scholarship as well as an athletic scholarship that helped to pay for school. I also liked the idea of the 3-2 Engineering Program because it allowed me to build a solid foundation in my math and science courses before tackling the rigorous engineering courses that would follow. The 3-2 Engineering program also gives students the opportunity to become well rounded. Often engineering students are seen as dorks or nerds who only focus on math and science, but the program allows us as engineers to broaden our knowledge base with the General Education requirements. In the long run, this will help us because we will no longer be number crunches who don’t think about the outside world. Instead, we will be able to use our engineering knowledge to ethically and morally solve real world problems.

Another benefit of the 3-2 Engineering Program is that it allowed me to pursue my passion of running. I competed on the Sea Warrior Cross Country team all three years. I had the opportunity to compete in the PacWest Conference Championships and the NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championships. The fact that the program gives you five years to complete your engineering degree, you are able to take advantage of a little more free time and pursue other aspects of your life.

The only downside of the 3-2 Engineering Program is that you do not gain any experience with engineering during your three years here. This being said, you have to go outside of the University to gain this experience. During all three of my summers, I was a part of the Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program at the University of Hawaii. It offered me a basic foundation for the different types of engineering and first hand experience working in an engineering lab. I would strongly recommend any 3-2 Engineering student at HPU to get involved with a program or internship so that you have some sort of direction when you leave to the mainland for your last two years.

The most important aspect for HPU was the small class size. I did not feel intimidated to ask questions because I always had familiar faces in every one of my classes. It also allowed me to build a close relationship with my professors so that I could go in for extra help when I needed it.

I have had two very influential teachers at HPU in the math department, Dr. Dennis Norton and Dr. Tara Davis. The main difference between them and the rest of my professors is that they are not only experts in their field, but they are excellent TEACHERS! They understand what it takes for a student to learn and help to drive home the purpose of why we are learning a certain topic. For a visual learner like myself, establishing the purpose of a topic and explaining how it applies in the real world is crucial. These two professors do exactly that and have made learning fun in the process.

Furthermore studying at HPU has helped to prepare me for the future because I have been able to interact with people from all over the world. Having this experience provided me the opportunity to learn, that in order to be successful in the working world, you must have an open mind. You have to know that what you know and believe in is completely different from someone who lives on the other side of the world. In order for you to be able to work with that person, you have to be accepting of them in every way, shape, and form. HPU embodies the process of globalization and allows its students to embrace this as well.