UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering University of California San Diego
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MAE Senior Leads by Example

Ben Graham

Ben Graham calls himself "driven, competitive and motivated," and there is ample evidence of that in the leadership roles he has played in engineering and student organizations at UCSD. Fittingly, on May 21 the Mechanical Engineering senior received the Jacobs School's Undergraduate Leadership Award for 2004.

Graham arrived at UCSD four years ago from Torrance with a 4.8 GPA and a Regents Scholarship. When did he know that he wanted to become a mechanical engineer? "It was probably when I first got a mechanical device, around three years old," said Graham. "My parents say I was building Lego fortresses and block towers with moving parts even at that age."

The 22-year-old has held every elected position within the Jacobs School's Triton Engineering Student Council. Graham also chaired the Society of Automotive Engineers chapter on the UCSD campus, which fielded a UCSD-designed-and-built race car in the Formula SAE competition in May.

Graham's leadership extends well beyond the Jacobs School. Hoping to make a difference, he did volunteer work and community outreach through Upward Bound, Tau Beta Pi, and UCSD's own Preuss School. "We showed them that physics is in everyday life - from the physics of bank shots in basketball, to launching water rockets over the fences of the school," said Graham.

After UCSD students elected him the youngest-ever Vice President of Finance, Graham was responsible for the $1.2 million budget of the Associated Students organization. He is also a member of the Warren College Advising Committee, sat on the University Budget Committee, and was elected a Freshman Class Senator in 2001.

Graham is planning to take the summer off, but come fall, he is headed for Raytheon Systems in El Segundo. There, he is already an old pro: he has worked in computer-aided design in Raytheon's opto-mechanical center for the past three summers, including last summer, when he designed three individual parts to be put into production for Black Hawk helicopters.

Triton Junkyard Derby
On May 21, teams of students, staff and faculty from across the campus participated in the first-ever Triton Junkyard Derby. The boxcar competition was based on the Learning Channel's "Junkyard Wars." Teams had two days to piece together their entries with junk they scavenged from a UCSD junk pile, before competing in roundrobin races down the Peterson Hall walkway and finishing in front of Geisel Library at the end of Library Walk.

"We wanted to create something that would engage the entire campus, alumni and the community, and based on the turnout and excitement of the crowd watching the Derby, I think we achieved that goal."

-Ben Graham, co-organizer of the Triton Junkyard Derby