Bethany Senior Realizing Engineering Dream

Daniel Halvorson works with a 3D printer.
Daniel Halvorson works with a 3D printer.

Senior Daniel Halvorson will be among the first to earn an engineering sciences degree from Bethany when he graduates on May 11, 2018. Halvorson is a fourth generation legacy student at Bethany. His now sainted great-grandmother Katherine Oesleby (’35) attended Bethany, as did grandparents Bob (’62) and Ruth (Oesleby) (’64) Heidenreich, and parents Loren (’86) and Susan (Heidenreich) (’88) Halvorson. All five attended Bethany when it was still a junior college. And while family tradition is a strong pull for many Bethany students, it almost wasn’t enough for Halvorson to consider enrolling.

Halvorson has been interested in pursuing a career in an engineering field since his he was young. He initially didn’t plan to attend Bethany because, at the time of his college search, there wasn’t a program at BLC to match his interests. He had been taking Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) courses through Bethany during high school. PSEO is a program that offers college courses for high achieving high school students in Minnesota. But engineering was Halvorson’s passion, and it seemed that another institution would have to be his choice for full-time education. That all changed when Bethany added the engineering sciences program in 2016.

“I decided to attend Bethany partly because it’s a family tradition and partly because it offered an excellent PSEO program. Once I became a ‘real’ college student, it looked like I was going to have to finish my degree elsewhere, but the new engineering science degree allowed me to stay at Bethany to finish my undergraduate degree here.”

And Halvorson is more than ready to bring the knowledge gained during his time at Bethany into the work world. You see, he’s already used that passion for engineering and been involved on the ground floor with partners developing a prototype industrial 3D printer. The project might have the potential to be a career in the making for the young entrepreneur. And beyond the possibilities with the startup, he’s all set to begin a full-time job with a Mankato engineering firm.

“I am a very active member in many online 3D printing communities, and met two young entrepreneurs online about a year ago. The three of us became good friends and we eventually decided to form a company together to break into the industrial 3D printer market with a printer that features a unique automated toolchanger.”

The prototype is nearly ready for market and Halvorson is excited for the possibilities.

“As a lifelong tinkerer, I feel like I’m living the dream! This is an amazing opportunity to do some serious research and development with components and systems I could not afford on my own. I flew down to Indianapolis to visit them [business partners] for a week over Spring Break, and our first industrial prototype is nearly finished.”

And while the 3D printer is prepared for market, Halvorson also has a full-time job lined up with the Mankato office of Abacus Engineering as well. Abacus specializes in mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. Halvorson had something of an ongoing internship with Abacus, which resulted in a full-time employment offer upon graduation. His work will involve consulting with both architects and contractors juggling the many intricacies of design projects.

“There’s a lot to learn at Abacus. On average, new employees in this field take about four or five years to become sufficiently knowledgeable to work on their own. Due to my interests in thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, I am being trained as an HVAC (mechanical) engineer, relying heavily on simulation and drafting software; however, I also work with other projects such as coding some plumbing simulation calculations to streamline that side of our business. Every day is different, with constant problem solving that keeps me engaged.”

And while engineering sciences was a demanding program that prepared Halvorson for the challenges ahead of him, it wasn’t all work while he was a student at Bethany. He took advantage of many opportunities while on campus in addition to his engineering studies. He’s an accomplished instrumentalist playing in a variety of bands and ensembles both on campus and with family and friends.

“I loved my time here and highly recommend potential students to seriously consider attending Bethany. Some of my favorite memories come from involvement in various music ensembles and projects here. My advice to new students is a three-step process: find something you’re passionate about, make close connections with professors and industry leaders in that field, and then judge what your career options are. Yes, college is a great time to join lots of clubs and experiment with finding new interests or deepening existing ones, but don’t forget to focus on identifying a practical passion and developing it through your studies.”