In addition to engineering, Dakota McGilton knows how to ‘Skin the Gerbil’
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Electrical and Computer Engineering | School of Computing and Engineering | 2016
Where is UMKC taking you?
To the rest of my life. I had an internship at Honeywell, and lots of professional opportunities. I am starting my master’s degree in electrical engineering in the fall at UMKC.
Why did you choose UMKC?
I’m from here (Kearney, Missouri), it’s affordable and Kansas City is the location of many of the nation’s top engineering firms.
Why did you choose engineering?
I’ve always loved to play with things and break them down, and put them together again. And I love computers.
Speaking of playing, I hear you’re good with a yoyo.
Yes, the summer before college, a friend and I were hanging out and thought it’d be fun to learn some tricks on the yoyo by watching YouTube. It’s been a hobby ever since. Skin the Gerbil is my favorite move.
How has your college program inspired you?
My program has inspired me to look at the world with a whole new perspective. I now have an appreciation for the work that went into designing the phone in my hand, the car I drive and the building I’m sitting in. Not only that, but I look at objects and see more than just moving parts, I can see some of the physics and engineering behind it.
Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?
I’ve learned that I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with others. I’ve grown a lot professionally and academically while at UMKC, and through teaching labs and tutoring, I’ve had the privilege to pass that knowledge on to new students.
What do you admire most at UMKC?
Diversity. I’ve had an opportunity to meet students from so many different countries and backgrounds, even from within my own major. Female, non-traditional, international, LGBTQIA students, etc., even when just looking at the School of Computing & Engineering, you see so many different perspectives represented.
Are you a first-generation college student?
I am. I mean it was always expected, but I never thought I’d actually want to go to school when I grew up. Then when I got close to college, I was actually excited to learn about engineering. It’s become my proudest accomplishment so far.
What’s your greatest fear?
Uncertainty. It’s both exciting and terrifying to be standing at the beginning and looking forward to the rest of my adult life.
What is one word that best describes you and why?
Honest. I’m typically very straight-forward with the people I interact with, and would tell you most anything you wanted to know about me. I don’t like to say or do anything that I don’t truly mean and am willing to stand by.