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Meet 2023 Spring Textbook Stipend Winner Patrick O’Donnell

Posted: August 4, 2023

SAE International helped bridge the gap between Patrick O’Donnell’s personal interests and his future career.

Through his undergraduate studies at Penn State Berks, O’Donnell has become an active member of the SAE Lehigh Valley Section. His involvement with the section has led to numerous opportunities to network with industry professionals, expand his knowledge of the industry, improve his leadership skills, and apply engineering principles to real-world scenarios.

As a member of his campus’s SAE Collegiate Chapter, O’Donnell has gotten experience in various design and manufacturing processes that he wouldn’t get in the classroom. He recently was a part of a project to redesign the Penn State Berks Baja SAE car’s shifter handle. The team worked together to reconfigure the shifter to ultimately make it easier for new members to learn how to properly shift gears when first driving the vehicle and reduce the risk of parts being broken due to improper shifting.

Growing up, O’Donnell always had an interest in cars, but never had the chance to work with them. Through SAE, he got that opportunity, which has now cemented the automotive field as the main industry he desires to work in after graduation.

Completing a degree program in the STEM field is no easy feat, and O’Donnell knows that firsthand. He wants to pass along the knowledge he gained to future students following in his stead through their education journey.

“I hope to contribute to the STEM community by returning and helping current and new students along their engineering degree journey. I have learned these past few years that college is hard, and being a STEM major alone poses its own set of unique challenges to overcome,” O’Donnell said. “I would like to be able to help upcoming students set themselves up in ways which make their path to their degree less difficult than I had for mine.”

O’Donnell was selected as one of SAE’s 2023 Spring Textbook Stipend winners. Recipients of the textbook stipend receive $1000 to help with the cost of textbooks.

Congratulations, Patrick! We can’t wait to witness your impact on the STEM community.