William Ma was the first student to be accepted to Wright College’s Engineering Pathway.  He earned his A.E.S from Wilbur Wright College in 2017, and his B.S from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2019. William now works as a product engineer for the architectural division at Masonite International Corporation.

Coming from Lane Tech College Prep, I was ambitious and always had a set goal of pursuing engineering as a major for college. A number of opportunities all came at once, and it was hard to decide what to choose, especially with finances driving the decision.

I recall a friend in high school who showed me a brochure about the Engineering Pathways program that was advertised at Wright College. It was incredible to hear that a robust program would guarantee admission to the Grainger College of Engineering at UIUC. In addition, the Chicago Star Scholarship would cover my tuition and books to earn my associate degree. I jumped on the opportunity incredibly early, submitting my application as an early decision after attending Wright’s first Engineering Pathways information session. I was the first student admitted to Wright’s Engineering Pathways program and a member of the inaugural cohort. I was awarded the Chicago Star Scholarship and was a STEM Scholar, which helped streamline and financially aid my education.

I successfully completed the Engineering Pathways program and was filled with joy to transfer to the mechanical engineering department at UIUC. As my journey at Wright drew to a close, I knew that internships were an integral component to attain first-hand experience in the work environment to shape one’s career. The key to my success was staying in close touch and developing a strong relationship with Dr. Doris Espiritu, the dean of engineering, who helped me to acquire an internship with UL Solutions during the summer of 2017.

Wright College has caring professors and staff who want to see you succeed and achieve your goals. My sole advice to students is not to take professors’ office hours for granted; if you need help, they are always readily available.

I graduated from UIUC and am successfully employed as a product engineer for the architectural division at Masonite International Corporation, a leading global designer, manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of interior and exterior doors for residential and architectural building construction markets. I’ve been fortunate to tackle and find elegant solutions for unmet challenges in the door industry.

I can easily say that if given the choice, I would do it all over again. I’m proud to see that Dr. Espiritu’s devotion starting from nine students in the initial Engineering Pathways cohort has expanded to over 300 students, with even more opportunities for development, and that Wright College is the Center of Excellence for Engineering and Computer Science.

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