Tuesday, May 1, was a special day for Jessica Nugent. That day, she was recognized as this year’s recipient of the College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean’s Award at a dinner at the Sacramento State Alumni Center for all seven Dean’s Award recipients. Just before the festivities, she had been summoned to Dean Emir Jose Macari’s office and presented with a computer by Leroy Tripette, a manager at Intel Corp.
Nugent is a natural. Her interest in problem-solving emerged as a child mastering the art of connecting puzzle pieces. Taking critical thinking and analysis to the next level, she began to decipher math and word problems, progressing over time to physics and chemistry. At Sacramento State, she sported a 3.95 grade-point average and made the Honor List each semester.
“My role model,” Nugent says, “was my father, Daniel, an electrical engineer in the U.S. Air Force.” His guidance prompted her to take engineering classes at Shasta College. Introductory courses in circuits, statics and property of materials whetted her appetite for studying electrical power engineering once she transferred to Sacramento State. Nugent plans to hone the skills she has learned by pursuing a master’s degree at Sac State beginning in the fall. She envisions a career in hydroelectric power generation.
The 23-year-old’s work experience includes serving as a summer intern at the consulting firm Black & Veatch, where she tutored other college students in math and statics. She also assisted engineers with electrical, mechanical and civil engineering projects. Her responsibilities included performing complex calculations, reviewing engineering diagrams and writing technical reports.
Macari is very high on Nugent’s talents. “Jessica has not only persevered but excelled in a program often dominated by men,” he says. “She is an outstanding student who not only holds an impressive grade-point average but also volunteers to help our college and her peers. I can think of no better candidate to represent our college’s student body. I look forward to having her in our graduate program in the fall and seeing her develop as a leader in our state.”
– Alan Miller