Scott Belfield, a 2011 graduate of the Master of Engineering: Engine Systems program at UW-Madison, works with large engines as a chief marine engineer and attributes much of his success to the degree.
Belfield quickly discovered that what he learned in Engine Systems could directly apply to his work. He was involved in testing and installing General Electric L250 6 Cylinder main engines on the Sludge Tanker M/V Port Richmond and cites the variety of courses as a significant part of his success.
“Having the background of application and design even though I am in an operations environment allowed me to coordinate with the vessel designers and shipyard to greatly streamline the integration process. Troubleshooting different aspects of the project was also made easier due to the knowledge gained by the diverse course selection at MEES,” he explained.
However, not all learning comes from a professor. Belfield notes that the program facilitates learning in many different ways.
“Other students had insight and experiences that they could share, or their questions to me about my experiences necessitated research and reflection on my part. This included reaching out to industry sources available to me that I would have had no reason to approach if not for my attending MEES.”
Despite changing jobs between his first and second years in the program, Belfield found time to complete his work.
“I remember writing a paper on I-95 while my wife drove after dropping my daughter off at college,” he said, “and studying for my compressible flow final on a plane to Washington state.”
Despite the unpredictability, Belfield stayed positive.
“I found the course material to be tough but fair. The professors were amazing, and always willing to engage and assist. All in all, I found the course to be well worth the effort.”
If you are considering MEES, Belfield has some advice.
“Be honest as to your ability to block out large chunks of uninterrupted study time, you will need it, and lastly, don’t get discouraged if things seem bad, look for help early and often, it will be given by colleagues and faculty generously.”
When making the decision to enroll in MEES, Belfield considered multiple factors. His two daughters were in college, and he had maxed out his pay grade at his current company.
“With two daughters in college, the economics made it an attractive option to move to a shoreside position. In addition to that, as a longtime engine enthusiast, the program content seemed right up my alley. The ability to study and obtain a master’s while continuing to work full time sealed the deal for me.”
What’s next for Belfield?
“Five years ago I had no idea as to what was to come, so maybe things will come to pass that I had no idea were in the offering. So, to quote the famous space traveler Buzz Lightyear, ‘to infinity and beyond!’”