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Engineering his success

Michael Maker is making it happen.

The second-year graduate student at Northeastern University, who is studying electrical and computer engineering leadership, says his willingness to “jump into the deep end of the pool”—to learn and take on leadership responsibilities—is paying dividends.

He’s now working for a company in Bonn, Germany, as a project manager for preclinical trials of a promising vision-perception device.

It’s great work for anyone, much less a graduate student, and he credits his success to the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program, which provides an innovative model for training engineering leaders through the College of Engineering.

Maker is a fellow of the one-year graduate program aimed at building a future corps of engineering leadership professionals through immersive learning. The program also seeks to develop in its fellows several intangible assets, such as outstanding character, self-esteem, and focused ambition.

Working for Intelligent Medical Implants, Maker oversees the preclinical trials in the United States of a promising device to treat retinal disease.

A “point person” working mostly out of Boston, and occasionally from the Bonn headquarters, Maker is helping oversee testing of the device, which helps stimulate the retina and improve the processing of visual input for people with retinal disease.

“This fellowship put me in the deep end of the pool from day one,” Maker says. “I’m a project manager. It’s a trial by fire, but it’s the best experience I’ve ever had.”

It’s an experience with benefits.

Not only is the company paying Maker for his work, it is also covering his Northeastern graduate-school tuition. Later, after his thesis on the project is complete, and he graduates in May, Maker has high hopes of returning to work for the company full time.

Maker is from a family of engineers. His father and sister are both in the field. But, his exposure to the industry has helped him build leadership skills and other assets to equip him to climb the ladder of success, he says.

“The Gordon Program really enables me to define myself as a person who is climbing the ladder, and willing to take on all challenges to become a leader,” Maker says. “I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.”

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