The Power to Pursue a Passion

Legos, tools, old car motors—you name it—there was always something around Peter Holtzen’s 150-year-old family home in Delafield, Wisconsin that he wanted to learn more about. “I grew up in what most would call a ‘do-it-yourself’ family environment,” he said. “I could always find something that needed to be fixed up. I enjoy figuring out how things work and, more importantly, how I can make them better.”

When Holtzen realized an engineering career would allow him to build and repair things for a living, he was hooked. After attending one semester at the University of Nebraska, he transferred to MSOE because of the university’s ties to great manufacturing firms, career placement rate and hands-on learning opportunities.

Holtzen is a recipient of MSOE scholarships, including the Gerald C. Ruehlow ’66, ’69 Scholarship and the Raymond G. and Louella Brown Scholarship. He says this critical financial support has allowed him to excel in his classes and further pursue his passion for robotics.

The mechanical engineering junior has made the Dean’s List with High Honors, is an intern at Generac Power Systems, and serves as a research assistant for Dr. Brian Slaboch, an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Both Holtzen and Slaboch recently were recognized for their work on a reconfigurable mechanism that allows for expanded motion of robots with fewer to the same number of motors. They presented their ideas at IDETC-CIE 2021, an international design engineering technical conference.

“Working with Dr. Slaboch has been such a wonderful experience. I am proud I was able to work on this project and receive recognition from industry peers.”

Holtzen is already excited for what the future may hold. “I hope whatever engineering job I end up serving, I can improve the lives of others and increase efficiency and environmental preservation through technology.”

Most importantly, he knows that dream would not have been possible without the generous support of MSOE alumni and donors.