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Meet an engineer of influence

Be equipped by an engineering program with some of the highest job-placement rates in the industry. Be inspired by professors of integrity who will guide you as you enter your field. These were the ingredients in Ben Ruddell’s Calvin education that made him the engineer he is today.


Photo credit: Northern Arizona University

  •   Author: Michal Rubingh
  •   Published: October 2, 2019
  •   Author: Michal Rubingh
  •   Published: October 2, 2019

Ben Ruddell is a civil engineer who spends his days mapping out the nation’s supply chains and mentoring young engineers. He carries the skills and values he developed at Calvin into his work today.

How does your work make an impact?

One of my larger projects right now is FEWSION, a National Science Foundation-funded effort to map and understand the nation’s supply chains and infrastructure. We need to understand how this system works and use it to engineer better systems and policies. This can help us build a more resilient society and manage large-scale change and disruption.

What’s valuable about experiencing the engineering department at Calvin?

It’s hard to find a better value than what you get at Calvin. My personal learning experience at Calvin was the best I’ve found in my (many) years within the educational enterprise. But also consider the competitive advantages. Calvin engineering has some of the:

  • best industry engagement,
  • best international service and study opportunities, 
  • best reputation in academia and industry, 
  • highest job placement rates (98 percent of students have a job offer within six months of graduation), 
  • and best placements into graduate study programs.

I went to Illinois’ top-rated civil and environmental engineering PhD program out of Calvin.

How did your education shape who you are now?

A turning point during my years at Calvin was the realization that I wanted to be like my engineering professors. They approach their teaching and service with the utmost integrity and quality and are truly kind and excellent people. I came to Calvin with many interests: engineering, development, service, outdoors, and travel. I left with something more: clarity about my calling as an engineering professor.

How do your personal values influence the way you act in the workplace?

In my experience, there are costs for having faith in a professional career. Particularly challenging are the hard choices posed by the leadership of other people and the need to compete for money to support my work.

But I always I try to work with integrity, avoid cutting corners, and act generously and in good faith. And I always do my best to put others first and focus on doing good rather than looking good.

  •   Author: Michal Rubingh
  •   Published: October 2, 2019

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