This year, Walla Walla University celebrates the 75th anniversary of the School of Engineering. Over the years, the school has continually offered an academically challenging program within a faith community that cultivates a commitment to service. Darius Felder, a senior electrical engineering student, exemplifies this commitment to use engineering skills in His service.
Felder first considered how engineering might fit into his future while in front of the TV in his Seattle-area home. The Hope Channel was on, and the program was exploring mission field work. Felder was fascinated by the inclusion of a missionary engineer. Perhaps, like many of us, he viewed missionaries as predominantly doctors or pastors. Seeing how the work of engineers supported the construction and operation of mission hospitals and advance gospel radio opened Felder’s mind to what the impact of a future in engineering could have. “I had always wanted a career that would be bigger than myself,” said Felder.
In pursuit of that goal, Felder added the Global Humanitarian Engineering Emphasis to his engineering degree. “I take a variety of classes, including ethics, religion and sociology classes, about how to engage in humanitarian work and work with groups that are different from yourself,” said Felder.
Fedler is not waiting until graduation to put his knowledge into action. He has honed his skills through involvement with Engineers Without Borders, as a math teacher in Yap, Micronesia, and by leading the local His Kids in Action club.
Felder feels His Kids in Action club is the biggest ministry he is a part of at WWU. Every month, Felder organizes activities and worships for kids in the Washington State Penitentiary area. “The emphasis is on the connection — to minister to these kids who come from rough backgrounds,” Felder said. Felder sees it as an important way to give back, because he can relate to many of the children.
Challenging classes, close collaboration with faculty, an internship at a hypersonic tech startup, and an ambitious senior project have given Felder a great start. In fact, he already has a job offer, despite being several months from graduation. But it is the extracurricular and service activities at WWU that make him feel especially prepared.
“I’m not totally sure what to expect of the future, but I have the courage to take it on,” he said. “When I’m going through difficult math and calculus classes, and I attend a testimony from other engineers about how they’re using their degree to help people and make a positive impact, it reminds me I can keep going. Service has been the glue that helped me stick to engineering.”