Varad Maitra‘s journey from a small town in India to the heart of America’s manufacturing hub is a testament to the power of dreams and the benefits of a top-tier US education. Growing up, he watched his engineer father work tirelessly on large machinery like tractors and trucks. This early exposure ignited Maitra’s passion for mechanical engineering and led him to the University of Cincinnati (UC).
Despite holding offers from other universities, Maitra chose UC for two reasons. Cincinnati’s location in the Rust Belt meant it was close to some of the nation’s largest manufacturing companies. UC’s pioneering cooperative education (co-op) programme, which has been around for more than a century, offered students the opportunity to gain real-world experience with industry giants. “Also, the scholarship UC offered me, as well as the average cost of living in Cincinnati, made a lot of financial sense for me to come to UC,” Maitra says.
UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science is a powerhouse of innovation that draws scores of talented students like Maitra to its campus every year. Ranked # 4 for co-op programmes among public and private universities in the nation by US News and World Report, UC takes pride in how it provides students with at least a full year of experience upon graduation.
The college offers BS, MEng, MS and PhD programmes in mechanical engineering. The BS equips students with knowledge to design, manufacture, and operate machines and mechanical systems that work in a safe and efficient fashion to advance today’s society. As part of the curriculum, students take part in a nationally-recognised co-op programme at companies such as Toyota Motor Company, Gulfstream Aerospace, Marathon Petroleum, Beckett Gas, Inc., and General Electric. Spanning almost two years, this is work that’s paid and related to their areas of interest.
Those seeking to expand their skills for the technical workforce while also developing professional skills that enhance their organisational effectiveness can opt for the MEng. It differs from an MS degree in that it is focused on direct industry application more than research.
Whichever programme they choose, they’ll be part of a college that’ll support them throughout their entire UC journey. For example, in the summer of 2021, CEAS made Maitra one of the organisers of a leading manufacturing conference, the North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC) and the International Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC) hosted by UC. “The rapport I have developed with my adviser, belief in the research I do, and faith that it’ll all come together at the end of this is what made me stay at UC after my master’s for my PhD,” Maitra shares.
With all that he’s received and benefited as a graduate student at UC, Maitra is now paying it forward. “My most memorable experiences include serving as president of the mechanical and materials engineering (MME) Graduate Student Association (GSA). My team and I are organizing a one-of-a-kind research orientation for incoming MME graduate students, wherein more than 20 labs present their current research,” he says. “This gives students a chance to make an informed decision about joining a lab.
Today, the PhD student is focusing on a process called metal additive manufacturing that consists of creating strong components from fine metal powders, which is impacting not only the manufacturing industry but medical sciences as well. As an R1 university, students like Maitra have access to some of the best facilities in the country. These include many of UC’s premier research labs, such as the Cooperative Distributed Systems Lab, Center for Global Design and Manufacturing, Thermal-Fluid and Thermal Processing Laboratory, and more.
Living in Cincinnati offers UC students a high quality of life without breaking the bank. US News & World Report ranks Cincinnati as the 13th Best Affordable Place to Live in the US, with a cost of living that’s 8% lower than the national average. In addition to UC’s high-level athletic teams, Cincinnati boasts three professional sports teams. The city’s flourishing arts scene, including theatres, galleries, and museums, provides endless entertainment options beyond academics.
Click here to learn more about UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.