MSOE junior Michaela Thiry has a passion for art. It can be seen in the steamed milk designs she creates on the top of lattes and the posters she designs for campus events. But she also loves math and science, so it was important to find a major that incorporated all her interests.

“I chose architectural engineering because I can keep that love of arts in my career with the drafting and design aspects,” she said.  

Moving from small-town Brussels, Wisconsin, in southern Door County to the big city of Milwaukee seemed like a fun adventure for Thiry. But she also found a very supportive, tight-knit community of students at MSOE “who try to help each other achieve greatness instead of making it a competition. I don’t think other schools are like that.”  

The accessibility of the professors also makes MSOE unique, said Thiry. “Professors really know their students and we really get to know them.”  

Thiry was part of MSOE’s Virtual Design and Construction team, which won the second place award at the Associated Schools of Construction national competition in Reno, Nevada. She serves as a student ambassador with the MSOE Strategic Planning Committee and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers—and competed as a member of the university’s ASCE Concrete Canoe team.  

Thiry finds the academic challenges at MSOE rewarding, but she also knows the importance of balancing school work with fun. She is publicity director for the Student Union Board (SUB) which creates activities so students can take a break from the rigors of their studies and relax. Last year with SUB, she compiled some of her own and other students’ artwork to publish a coloring book for MSOE.  

As a student worker with Student Life, Thiry continues to promote activities by making posters or creating Facebook events. “I’m also working on an Instagram-type wall that showcases all the student organizations so students have a place to come and see what they can be involved in.”  

Thiry said she would like all students to have the same sense of pride for MSOE she has. She hopes to find more ways to instill that pride through the University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program.  

“I’m interested in networking with other universities to see what they do differently that maybe our campus could benefit from,” she said. “I also want to improve how our own student organizations coordinate with each other.”  

Thiry likes the possibility of introducing old traditions held by other universities. One idea is the “Order of the Engineer” ceremony, in which graduating seniors are given a ring to symbolize their dedication to the standards and ethics of the engineering profession.  

The biggest reason Thiry said she wanted to be a Fellow was to improve as a leader. She said that drive was instilled in her by her best friend and biggest fan. “My mom is the one who pushes me to be successful and to have fun in everything I do, and to never settle for anything less.”