Pilot Profile: Kenton Leidy ’16 – Engineer, Musician
Kenton Leidy ’16 is the first student featured in our Pilot Profile summer series, focusing on why students chose Bethel and what they’ve gained from their course of study. Leidy was a Math/Physics major and part of our 3-2 Engineering program, in partnership with University of Notre Dame and Trine University. While at Bethel, he gained real-world experience through an internship at AM General, and participated in Jazz Ensemble and Chapel Band. He is heading into his second year at Notre Dame, where he will graduate with an engineering degree in 2018.
Why did you choose Bethel College?
I was originally planning on getting an engineering degree from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. My plan was to go on to serve in the Navy, but when I moved in for summer training, I realized that the military was not where I was supposed to be. I came home and had about a month to figure out where I was going to go to college. I had already been accepted into Purdue and I decided to submit an application to Bethel as well. I got accepted, but I was leaning more towards Purdue, until I went on a visit to Bethel. I felt drawn during my visit and I now realize that God was pulling strings behind the scenes to get me to choose Bethel. At first, I chose Bethel because I needed somewhere to go to college. Now I realize that it was exactly where I needed to be so that I could experience growth in my personal relationship with Christ.
What have been some of your highlights in the Bethel 3-2 Engineering Program?
I loved being close to my professors and friends at Bethel. I’m currently at the University of Notre Dame, which is so big! With about 150 people in almost all of my classes, it’s easy to feel like I’m getting lost in the crowd. At Bethel, I really appreciated how my professors cared for me and worked with me to make sure I excelled. I love how I was challenged academically, but encouraged to grow spiritually and socially as well. I remember the late nights I had doing projects, writing papers, or finishing homework, and I feel a certain fondness of those memories and the people I shared them with. Speaking of people, they are what I miss most about Bethel.
How did the 3-2 engineering program at Bethel prepare you for the University of Notre Dame?
Bethel gave me a strong intellectual foundation for the work I’m doing now at Notre Dame. I also appreciate the broad curriculum at Bethel. I had liberal arts classes, math, science and engineering classes as well as extra-curriculars like Jazz Ensemble and Chapel Band. I feel like a much more well-rounded individual now, which sets me apart. I am also more confident with the interpersonal part of engineering, which is something that some engineers struggle with.
Did you participate in any internships during your time at Bethel?
I worked in the product engineering department at Bosch in St. Joseph, Mich., and helped with the designs of some potentially new components. I also worked in manufacturing engineering at AM General in Mishawaka, Ind., and assisted with the production of the Mercedes-Benz R-Class vehicle. My internships gave me a glimpse into the real world of engineering and gave me an opportunity to put what I had learned into practice. I was given projects to do on my own each day and gave weekly updates on my progress to my supervisor. It really made me feel more like an engineer.