Senior Miya Preston is ready to make a difference in the world. Preston is rounding out her time here in a fifth year accelerated program to obtain both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architectural engineering—a unique option MSOE offers.

Preston didn’t have to travel too far from West Bend, Wisconsin to get to MSOE. Even though she is just a short drive from her hometown, she’s made footprints all over the world in her five years here. She has been involved in both Habitat for Humanity and American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) since her freshman year. ASPE and Habitat for Humanity has provided her the opportunity to travel to places that she’s only dreamed. Through ASPE, Preston travel to Nasik, India to help construct a sustainable plumbing system for a clean water handwashing station. Connecting with ASPE has provided Preston with an entirely new perspective on the world and her future career. Providing students with a healthier future ignited Preston’s passion for combining her degree with humanitarian work.  

“This [Architectural Engineering] industry is so much more than just designing new buildings. It’s about meeting needs in society and working together to make a difference.” Preston shared that learning to solve big problems and bring sustainable designs to life provides an exciting challenge.  

In addition to helping bring clean water to the world, Preston also interns at HGA Architects and Engineers, a company in downtown Milwaukee. HGA has allowed her to work part-time while taking classes at MSOE. She can directly apply what she is learning in the classroom to real-world experiences—an incredibly invaluable part of her education. HGA also offered Preston a full-time job as a plumbing designer before graduating in this May.  

“My internship has helped me find my passion for both plumbing engineering and the health care industry. Knowing that my design efforts can help contribute to the heath and wellness of others really inspires me,” says Preston.  

MSOE’s small class size has allowed Preston to build supportive and close relationships with classmates and faculty. Receiving the respected mentorship from her department has helped her tangibly see what she can accomplish outside the classroom.  

“I feel I have achieved my full potential through all the opportunities that MSOE has provided. I couldn’t imagine spending my college years anywhere else.”  

Preston wants to focus her degree on the design of health care buildings while continuing her humanitarian work both domestically and internationally—concentrating her efforts on access to clean water and sanitation systems in India, South Africa and Southeast Asia.