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The engineering programs at Saint Martin’s University have launched students into rewarding and challenging careers since the University awarded its first civil engineering degree more than 70 years ago. This occupational avenue to success continues today with graduates like Tyrell Bradley, the principal civil engineer at an Olympia firm. Today, Saint Martin’s offers both civil engineering and mechanical engineering bachelor’s degrees.

“Saint Martin’s University did a great job in teaching me to think critically like an engineer,” says Bradley, who graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Saint Martin’s Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering.

A college student sits at a desktop computer
Saint Martin’s University students develop skills for future careers in courses such as the mechanical engineering program’s robotics class. Photo courtesy: Saint Martin’s University

Civil Engineering Alumnus Tyrell Bradley Uses Saint Martin’s Education to Give Back to Local Community

Born into a construction business family and raised in Tenino, Bradley has worked for 16 years at three local engineering firms during and after college. Bradley was appointed as principal engineer at the Olympia LDC firm in 2022. Over the years, Bradley has used his Saint Martin’s degree to benefit the Thurston County community.

He has taken important leadership roles with landowners in significant local projects like the new Tumwater Craft District, which blends the area’s growing tourism and brewing history into a location with modern buildings, businesses, dining and entertainment. “Since its inception, I have been involved in every decision and will continue to do so until its completion,” he says.

As another illustration of Bradley giving back to his local community, he taught as an adjunct instructor in Saint Martin’s engineering program for four years while simultaneously working on a variety of public and private projects in the area. “There’s nothing like giving back to your campus after they helped to create you,” he says.

School of Engineering Dean David Olwell, Ph.D., says Bradley exemplifies the University’s core themes of faith, reason, service and community. “He is firing on all cylinders,” he says.

a large group of student sitting and standing around tables in the Saint Martin's University Civil Engineering department
Saint Martin’s University’s civil engineering and mechanical engineering students benefit from the supportive programs, with professional faculty providing classroom and laboratory instruction. Photo courtesy: Saint Martin’s University

Saint Martin University’s Civil and Mechanical Engineering Degrees Provide Employers Well-Rounded Graduates

The University’s engineering programs are rooted in the Benedictine Catholic tradition of providing a holistic education. Olwell says future employers of its engineering students look favorably on the liberal arts education offered at Saint Martin’s, along with the professional industry skills taught. “Employers tell us that the liberal arts graduates come out better rounded,” he says. “It’s a whole person development.” The civil and mechanical engineering graduates are hired by private firms and government agencies locally and across the state, including the Washington State Department of Transportation for example. “And our location in the state capital is a huge plus for internships and job placement,” he adds.

Saint Martin’s civil and mechanical engineering degrees are open to students enrolling in their first year as well as students transferring from a community college, which is what Bradley did after earning his associate’s degree from Centralia College. “He had taken some engineering-related classes such as engineering technology, surveying, drafting and technical writing,” Olwell explains. “We put him in our upper division. He did well academically.”

Olwell says that Bradley’s role as a Saint Martin’s engineering instructor after graduating and earning his engineering license is part of the program’s design to provide classes taught by professional faculty, enabling students to relate to and learn from their experiences working in industry.

The engineering programs are housed in two state-of-the-art buildings: Cebula Hall and Panowicz Foundry for Innovation. Cebula Hall houses Saint Martin’s engineering labs and features unique collaborative work environments for students to maximize their educational experience. When the building was opened in 2012, it was recognized as the highest-rated LEED Platinum project in the United States. The Panowicz Foundry is the other engineering building. It is a 17,363-square-foot facility that provides laboratories and design space where the University’s engineering and computer science students can apply what they have learned in the classroom to generate, test and evaluate designs, explore possibilities and gain hands-on experience as they work toward their degrees.

Four college students work on machines in the Saint Martin's University Civil Engineering department
Future employers look for well-rounded students who graduate from Saint Martin’s University’s civil engineering and mechanical engineering degree programs. Program details are on the college’s website. Photo courtesy: Saint Martin’s University

Challenging and Meaningful Engineering Careers Begin at Saint Martin’s University

The two undergraduate engineering programs offer meaningful careers for graduates. Civil engineers are professionals responsible for designing, constructing, maintaining, and overseeing various infrastructural projects that form the backbone of society. They work on a wide range of projects, including buildings, bridges, roads, airports, water supply systems, dams, and more. Mechanical engineers are professionals who apply principles of engineering, physics, and materials science to design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems. Their work spans a wide array of industries and responsibilities

In his role as a civil engineer, Bradley exercises multiple proficiencies that he learned during his time studying at Saint Martin’s. “My job, in a nutshell, is to have meetings with my team, work on specifications and permits, and work with the city with construction. It’s part of the whole kit and kaboodle.” This skill set means that at the Tumwater Craft District project, for example, he oversees site development for everything outside the buildings and includes water facilities, parking lots, traffic adjustments and roadway extensions, to name just a few areas of his responsibility.

Saint Martin’s offers engineering students a supportive place to learn and grow into professionals. The programs can be more agile than those at larger state institutions, plus University staff gives personal direction to launch students into meaningful careers through its growing alumni network and corporate partnerships. “We take great pains to know the students and help each student be successful,” Olwell says. He adds that engineering firms like SJC Alliance, Parametrix and Skillings, as well as Bradley’s firm of LDC, employ Saint Martin’s alumni who bolster the University’s programs by providing internships and career mentors, hiring graduates and attending the annual engineering banquet to meet current students and reconnect with faculty.

To learn more about the Saint Martin’s University civil and mechanical engineering programs, visit the website or contact the Saint Martin’s Office of Admissions.

Saint Martin’s University
Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering
5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey, WA 98503
360.688.2113 | admissions@stmartin.edu

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