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MU student elected to national position

The Parthenon

Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 00:10

The engineering program at Marshall University has been steadily gaining esteem and recognition in the engineering community both at home and abroad.  
While groundbreaking for the new applied engineering complex has generated excitement and support for the engineering community, one Marshall student has gained recognition for Marshall’s quickly advancing engineering program.

Senior engineering major, Nathan O’Kane, was recently elected the national president of the National Student Council for the Society of American Military Engineers, or S.A.M.E.

O’Kane was chosen for the position out of roughly 100 student candidates from 45 S.A.M.E. chapters across the nation.

O’Kane said he took on the position for personal fulfillment, rather than career or monetary advancement.

“I do not really get any real benefit from doing this, I am not paid for it and I am not looking for any recognition,” O’Kane said. “It is an honor more than something I am going to benefit from. S.A.M.E and engineering here at Marshall has given me a huge amount of satisfaction and fulfillment as far as education and personal fulfillment. My idea is to give that back to student chapters across the nation so they are getting everything they can out of the program.”

S.A.M.E. is the premier professional military engineering association in the United States that encompasses architecture, engineering, construction, facility management and environmental entities as well as public and private sector engineers and related professionals.

The association aims to promote and facilitate engineering support for national security and aids in the preparation for natural and manmade disasters.

Taking on the presidential role of S.A.M.E National Student Council gave O’Kane the opportunity to represent Marshall University in the S.A.M.E. conference in St. Louis over the weekend.  
The conference allowed engineering students from across the United States to discuss goals and objectives of the S.A.M.E organization student chapters and heavily focused on developing future engineers through outreach and mentoring.

“It speaks volumes about Nathan and the caliber of students and engineering programs at Marshall University,” Matt Turner, Marshall’s chief of staff said.  
O’Kane has true passion for the engineering field and stresses its significance in everyday life.

“You will start to think about how everything you do today was done by engineers, the house or apartment you live in, the street you drive on, the car you drive — everything you do somehow comes back to engineering,” O’Kane said.

Engineering involves combining and applying scientific, economic, social and practical knowledge to design, build and maintain machines, engines, structures and public works.

O’Kane said even though Marshall has a fairly young engineering program, the professors and expanding facilities are top notch.  
“Becoming an engineer will give you a huge sense of pride,” O’Kane said. “Engineering has given me a lot of appreciation of how important the field is to the world. It takes a lot of work and a lot of determination, but you are going to help the world and that is something I can get behind.”

The engineering program at Marshall is currently one of the fastest growing majors on campus. With groundbreaking for the new applied engineering complex set for Oct. 29, students in the engineering field will soon have a fully functioning facility to encompass nearly every area of engineering.  
The new engineering complex is just one of many physical examples of Marshall’s continual expansion.

Katie Wise can be contacted at

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