Mike Grace

Mike Grace

Dean's Scholar

College of Engineering
Mechanical Engineering

Why did you choose your major?

I choose mechanical engineering because I have a background in construction and didn't want to do civil.  I am a journeyman carpenter and a member of the Carpenters local 9144 here in San Jose.  I decided to leave the trade after a very successful 13-year career and go back to school.  I was originally going to do business.  My dad has an accounting firm in Hollister and I was slated to take over the firm upon completion of my degree.  It only took one class "Intro to Income Tax" for me to know that accounting/business wasn't for me.  That same semester at Gavilan College, I took beginning algebra and fell in love.  I was going to major in Math, but then I took a physics class and fell in love with it.  It just so happened that my physics instructor was an engineer and suggested that with my background I look into a degree in engineering.  He then went on to say that “the only real engineer is a mechanical engineer”.  So that did it for me - that is how I choose mechanical engineering.


What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

It is very pleasing to be recognized for my hard work.

Who has been instrumental in your life and/or who has contributed to your academic success?

Definitely my mom and dad have been huge supporters for me in going back to school.  My girlfriend has been a tremendous supporter as well.  I would also have to say that my instructors from the junior college that I attended were very instrumental in me being where I am today in terms of academic success.

Did you overcome any hardships or adversities during your life, that has helped shape who you are today?

I have overcome some considerable hardships and personal trials.

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

DON'T GIVE UP!  Always ask that question that's in your mind, even if you think it's not relevant.  The only way to get a degree in engineering is to work hard and push yourself to be the best you can be.
I have a simple recipe for getting A's in classes:

  • Never miss a class,
  • Always sit in the front row,
  • Write down everything the instructor puts on the board,
  • Always do the homework, and
  • Go to office hours for help with homework

If you do these things you will get an A in whatever class you take.

Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?

I am currently working at Lockheed Martin.  My internship, which began in the summer 2010, was extended into a co-op because I was deemed a very good and valuable employee.
 I hope in 5-10 years to be an engineering manager at Lockheed Martin.

A few words from his nominating professor:

"Mike started peer tutoring program, is Vice President of Tau Beta Pi Chapter SJSU and Vice Chair of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) SJSU, not to mention an excellent student."
-Dr. Emily Allen