Podcast

Episode Notes | Episode Transcript | AskTheGuest

 Hi Fives (5 Highlights)   2-Minute Listen

Tyler Gathman is a graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering.

Tyler’s college experience is very focused on what he wanted to accomplish. He jumped into Engineering from the get-go and immersed himself in it and excelled. Outside of class, Tyler was part of church groups, professional engineering organizations and loved Intramural Sports.

His summer internship at Mayo Clinic sparked his interest in medicine, which he pursued upon graduation.

Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:

  1. Overall Experience
  2. Why ISU?
  3. Top Notch Professors
  4. Intramural Sports
  5. Advice to Aspirants

Episode Notes

Episode Title: Tyler Gathman on ISU: Chemical Engineering, Intramural Sports, and Standing in Line for Basketball Games.

Episode summary introduction: Tyler grew up around engineers. Tyler liked Math and even participated in the “Project Lead the Way” program for Engineering in Minnesota. He was a Boy Scout and  played varsity baseball.

Tyler Gathman is a graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering.

In particular, we discuss the following with him:

  • Choosing ISU
  • Majoring in Chemical Engineering
  • Intramural Sports and Church Groups
  • Advice to Aspirants

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introduction to Tyler Gathman, ISU [0:36]
  • Hi Fives - Podcast Highlights [1:20]
  • Overall Experience [3:54]
  • Why Iowa State? [5:23]
  • High School Interests [6:55]
  • Transition to ISU [9:43]
  • Peers - Supporting Each Other [10:42]
  • Top Notch Professors [12:03]
  • Engineering Programs [14:27]
  • Intramural Sports, Church Groups, ASME [15:38]
  • Summers [16:59]
  • Why Chemical Engineering? [18:29]
  • Outstanding Student Award [19:43]
  • Engineering to Medicine [21:37]
  • ISU’s Impact [25:19]
  • ISU Redo [26:20]
  • Advice to Aspirants [27:30]
  • Memories: Athletics at ISU [28:31]

Our Guest: Tyler Gathman is a graduate from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Tyler is currently pursuing a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Memorable Quote: “I don't think it's necessarily important to know what you want to do when you go to college. I think that's a process. But I think it's important to know what's out there, and understand what that is.” Tyler’s advice to Aspiring Students.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

Calls-to-action:

Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Tyler 0:14

Standing in line before the basketball games to get tickets or, or, you know, after the football games when you know we beat someone that we're not supposed to beat. Those are all, you know, fond memories.

Venkat  0:36  [Introduction to Tyler Gathman, ISU]

Tyler Gathman is a graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering.

Tyler grew up around engineers.

His father was an engineer, and incidentally, a graduate of Iowa State.

Tyler liked Math and even participated in “Project Lead the Way” program for Engineering in Minnesota.

He was a Boy Scout.

He played varsity baseball for the first couple of years of high school.

Venkat Raman  1:01

Tyler  joins us on our podcast to tell us his ISU story.

Before we jump into the podcast, here are the High-Fives,  Five Highlights from the podcast:

Tyler  1:20  [Highlights - Hi Fives]

[Overall Experience]

My experience was overwhelmingly positive. And I feel as more time passes and I get deeper into my career, I actually appreciate more just how nice it was to go to Iowa State and the opportunities I had.

[Why ISU?]

When I visited, I met a couple of professors. And they were really nice. They were again genuinely interested in who I was. And they were interested in making this a positive experience.

[Top Notch Professors]

And however at Iowa State it seemed that even the professors that had a big research focus were also equally concerned about their student's well being and their academic performance.

 

[Intramural Sports]

I also got involved in intramural sports, which I can't recommend highly enough. Because again, it's important to take time out of your studies to exercise and just enjoy what is the college experience.

[Advice to Aspirants]

I think the number one thing that that aspiring students can be doing is really trying to explore different careers out there. I don't think it's necessarily important to know what you want to do when you go to college. I think that's a process. But I think it's important to know what's out there and understand what that is.

Venkat Raman  2:39

These were the Hi5s, brought to you by College Matters. Alma Matters.

Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Venkat Raman  2:50

Now, I'm sure you want to hear the entire podcast with Tyler.

So without further ado, here is Tyler Gathman!

----------------------

Venkat Raman  2:59  

Let me start by welcoming you, Tyler to our podcast, College Matters. Alma Matters. Very, very nice to have you on the show. I personally, graduated from Iowa State, many moons ago, as I mentioned. So pleasure to talk to you.

Tyler  3:18  

Yeah, thank you for having me on. I'm excited to talk with you with this opportunity.

Venkat Raman  3:23  

Fantastic. So what I'd like to do is talk about your undergraduate experience at Iowa State. Talk about all the trials and tribulations of an undergrad. And you know how things worked out for you. So, if you're ready, we can jump right in.

Tyler  3:42  

Let's do it.

Venkat Raman  3:43  

Okay. So Well, let's start with some reflecting what do you think of your experience now, a couple of years removed.

Tyler  3:54  [Overall Experience]

My experience was overwhelmingly positive. And I feel as more time passes, and I get deeper into my career, I actually appreciate more, just how nice it was to go to Iowa State and the opportunities I had.

Venkat Raman  4:10  

Anything in particular, any broad strokes?

Tyler  4:14  

Yeah, of course. So I was in the College of Engineering for my time there. And I can say unequivocally that the engineering program at Iowa State is top notch when it comes to both undergraduate and graduate. And I say that because I experienced some of the best teaching professors I've ever had. And that's being at at multiple institutions now that I'm at the University of Minnesota. And in addition to that, they had one of the most comprehensive curriculums in terms of engineering that I have seen. They had people who were experts both academically and industrially, which is really important. They also took the time to get to know you, and decipher what you wanted to your career and help you get to that point. And that's part of the reason why I am today is for people that took the time to get to know me.

Venkat Raman  5:14  

That's high praise.

Venkat Raman  5:19  

So why did you pick Iowa State?

Tyler  5:23  [Why Iowa State?]

So my dad is an Iowa State alumni, he graduated electrical engineering many moons ago. He went on to work for IBM for for many, many years. And I was interested in engineering from a young age, I didn't always know what I was going to do when I grew up. But I knew I wanted to do something starting off in engineering. And my dad was very supportive of Iowa State really enjoyed his time there. And I visited the campus actually. And it is a beautiful place as as you know, yeah. It's, you know, it just blew me away. And it was, it was really a great community. And when I visited, I met a couple of professors. And they were really nice. They were, again, genuinely interested in who I was. And they were interested in making this a positive experience. So those are all reasons why I went into Iowa State not even to mention Iowa State's reputation for being a great engineering school and producing graduates in great companies and having their graduates go on to do what they desired to do. So that kind of factored into my decision. And there were other schools that I was thinking about, but none of them really culminated in the same that I was they it was in terms of how I felt about it, and how I felt that I belonged in the Iowa State community.

Venkat Raman  6:48  

So how were you in high school? What, you said you were interested in engineering from early age, What else did you do?

Tyler  6:55  [High School Interests]

Yeah, so in high school, specifically, um, I took a lot of AP classes. AP calculus was probably the major one. All honors courses. And then I actually took some what they call, I think this is might just be a Minnesota thing, but their Project Lead the Way engineering courses that I took on the the purpose of those is basically to introduce high school students to engineering fundamentals from an early age. And those were really cool. I remember doing different trusses and doing the construction engineering, things that high schoolers often are shown, and that that all played a factor in how I did my preparation. And part of it is, is you know, I had, again, a parents who were supportive of me, and who knew the layout of engineering. And I think that's, that was important in my case, because I actually got to interview multiple engineers at IBM, when I was in high school as part of my curriculum, and is also as part of Boy Scouts. So I had those influences in my life. And they all really pointed me to where I ultimately ended up.

Venkat Raman  8:07  

So you mentioned Boy Scouts, what else were you involved in outside of academics?

Tyler  8:12  

Yeah. So I played sports in high school, and I was a big baseball player. I played on the varsity squad for three seasons. And that was really an important part of my life. I ended up getting hurt between my junior and senior season. But ultimately, things worked out. I made I was eight. But in addition to baseball, like I said, Boy Scouts. I also worked I had a part time job at a grocery store. And those were probably the main things I did in high school. And again, they all contributed to the success that I ultimately had. I think they build important skills, you know, in one way or another.

Venkat Raman  8:55  

So you didn't try out for baseball, in college, where you said you were hurt. So was that all okay?

Tyler  9:02  

Yeah, I ended up okay, I was put, I had the opportunity to play in college. But once I got hurt, I either was going to require surgery to fix my elbow, which just did not feel like the appropriate decision for for someone who was never going to play professionally. You know, at that point, my education became more important than my athletic career.

Venkat Raman  9:33  

Great, so you are accepted into Iowa State. You're show up at Iowa State. How was that transition from high school to college?

Tyler  9:43  [Transition to ISU]

So the transition can be rough at times. Yeah. I think the first two weeks were really tough on me. And part of that was really just missing home. I think, you know, being homesick is a legitimate thing that happens to a lot of people when they go off to college as freshmen. I actually think in some ways the the academic transition is almost not as difficult as the social transition, or the emotional transition. Because, like I said, you know, I will say that plenty of resources for me to succeed academically, whether it's tutors, or supplemental instruction, the help was there for those that sought it. But again, socially, it's it's not something that you can easily fix. So those were those were challenges that I faced early on.

Venkat Raman  10:38  

How what are your classmates? How did what did you think of those guys?

Tyler  10:42  [Peers - Supporting Each Other]

So this, this kind of ties in with the previous question, I when I started, I was stayed I was stayed in Friday for my first year. Yeah, I'm sure many people have fond memories of Riley. And I was in a, I believe what they called it when I was at Iowa State is a a community learning group, which was basically a dorm floor a part of a dorm hall that is dedicated to a certain major in my major was with chemical engineering. So I was put in a, you know, a dorm space with a whole bunch of other chemical, new chemical engineering majors. And that was probably the best decision that I made, or it's up there, made during my I was state. Stay there. Because you know, as again, as a first year, I talked about the social transitions, but academically, having people who have the same major as you are going through the same classes and the same challenges, and are there to support each other is unparalleled? It's it's absolutely fantastic. So that really helped ease the transition. And it also helped academically, like I said,

Venkat Raman  11:54  

How, about the teaching? I, You did mention they were top notch professors. Anything more that you wanted to add to that?

Tyler  12:03  [Top Notch Professors]

Yeah. What I do want to add is a lot of times, at large universities like Iowa State, professors are as much researchers as they are teachers. It however, and I would state it seem that even the professors that had a big research focus, were also equally concerned about their students well being and their academic performance. And I can say this, you know, tangibly, they took the time in office hours to get to know people, they made classes, they held classes in a way that was easy to learn the resources, were there for everyone. And there was excellent communication.

Venkat Raman  12:47  

So did you have, I don't know how big the classes were. But did you have breakout sessions or recitations or, depending on the school, they have different names? smaller, smaller groups were typically taught by two years.

Tyler  13:06  

Yeah, so mostly for freshman year, you take the general courses, and these general courses, general chemistry, math, like you said, tend to have larger sections, we're talking, you know, in excess of 100 students. And most of those have recitation sessions where it gets down to maybe 10 to 20 students. And those are, are great opportunities as well. Because again, you get that more one on one attention, and you get your questions answered much more easily. And I think an important point with that is I remember my recitations, specifically in math and chemistry, were taught by people who were just as qualified as the professor. So it was a really great opportunity to have, again, someone who knows the material just as well, to answer my questions. And I actually attribute a lot of my success in courses to being able to get questions asked during recitation, and I get having that extra time in those cases to really solidify my skills.

Venkat Raman  14:11  

You came to Iowa State into the engineering school, right? To the end, was the program designed to have a general core curriculum, or did you sort of jump right into engineering?

Tyler  14:27  [Engineering Programs]

I jumped right into chemical engineering from day one. And that's where I stayed for my entire four years. However, one of the things I do want to note is that I will state does have a general engineering pathway, which is a pathway where for the first year or sometimes longer, you can take the classes that every engineer does because the first year is basically a standardized curriculum, and then you can jump into whatever pathway you want, and something that looking back. I think that it might have been beneficial for me to stay in the general engineering curriculum. For a year, to have a better understanding of the other fields, because at the end of the day, it's really hard to know what exactly an electrical versus a mechanical versus chemical engineer does Sure. In your first year, so it's a really great flexible opportunity to have their.

Venkat Raman  15:21  

So let's go out of the class. And you mentioned the community, quote, unquote, living for the dorms. So let's talk a little bit about cultural and social activities, the kind of organization things we were involved in.

Tyler  15:38  [Intramural Sports, Church Groups, ASME]

Sure. So during my time at Iowa State, I was involved in a a campus group, a campus religious group, which is basically a church group, that was really beneficial, just because it gave me some place off campus to kind of hang out and study on and remove myself from the academic environment, which can be beneficial. I was also involved in the American Institute for chemical engineering. During my latter years, which is a, any of the professional organizations, whether it's ASME, or IEEE, are just really great opportunities to branch out professionally, and talk to people who you might interact with industry later on. I also got involved in intramural sports, which I can't recommend highly enough. Because again, it's important to take time out of your studies to exercise and just enjoy what is the college experience. And again, looking back, I think that's something that most people would say they actually might have taken advantage of even more. But I'm glad I did it, because it's a really fun program and I was state.

Venkat Raman  16:50  

Let's talk a little bit about your summers while in college. What were the kinds of things you did during the different summers?

Tyler  16:59  [Summers]

Of course, so I want to start this with, so I will say has a career fair, every semester. And it's it's been billed as the the best career fair in the nation, and it does not disappoint. So most people, whether you're engineering or not end up getting their summer opportunities through the Career Center. And that's where I ended up getting one of mine actually, another one was, was through just direct applying. But my summers where I started off one summer at the Mayo Clinic, where I was a, I was a researcher doing a research program, which was instrumental later on and helped me apply to medical school. And then another summer. I'm an intern, an engineering intern for Roche. Roche is a it's a biotechnology, pharmaceutical company, very large company. And, you know, my stay at Iowa State really helped me solidify both of those. So I thought those were great, two great opportunities that really helped direct my career later on.

Venkat Raman  18:06  

Let's get back to some couple of things, which really I find intriguing. One is chemical engineering. You said you jumped into it? You know, starting day one? Why chemical? How did that happen? And was there a, you know, passion, interest, or some reasoning behind that?

Tyler  18:29  [Why Chemical Engineering?]

So when I was first deciding a major, I knew in the back of my mind that I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do. I wasn't even sure if I was going to stick with my major. But I wanted to pick something that I thought would be interesting. And that I thought would give me flexibility later on. That was about all I knew as a freshman. So I really had to choose between chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering. Like I said, I knew I wanted to do engineering. And I actually had an uncle that was a chemical engineer. And I remember talking to him early on back in high school. But ultimately, I really just kind of made the choice based on what I thought resonated with me most. And again, I go back to I didn't really know what either of these fields were at the time. But I ultimately did make the right choice. And I learned that probably after my second year that I was really enjoying the courses and I had to made the right choice.

Venkat Raman  19:34  

You I guess you are a great student. You won the Outstanding Senior Award. Tell us a little about that.

Tyler  19:43  [Outstanding Student Award]

Sure. So a lot of I believe most of the engineering disciplines and I would state they have they have graduate awards. And the one they have in chemical engineering is for the student with the highest GPA. And I remember getting that when I graduate. waited back in 2019. I learned about that about a month before I graduated. And that was just a really great, I guess, reward for my work during my time at Iowa State, which I cannot attribute solely to myself, I have a lot of friends, classmates and professors that really paved the way for me to be able to get to where I was.

Venkat Raman  20:25  

Now was the was the program hard. How would you characterize it?

Tyler  20:29  

Um, yes, it's, it's hard. And I so it's not as daunting as I guess I be saying it's hard makes it out to be, um, it really depends on what kind of student you are. I, I firmly believe that. If you take the time, and try to understand things and ask for help when you need it, that you can succeed in any curriculum at Iowa State, whether it's chemical engineering, or anything else. You know, it's just a matter of, again, you know, knowing your limits and how you can do best within yourself. So.

Venkat Raman  21:11  

So you graduate, as a chemical engineer, And then now you're pursuing medicine. You are two years into that program. Tell us a little bit about how or how that happened? Or what was the thinking and transition from engineering to medicine? I don't mean to make it sound like it's illogical. I just want to understand sort of how it happened.

Tyler  21:37  [Engineering to Medicine]

No, it's It's, there's a small subset of engineers that go into medical school. So it's a it's a very valid question. But I guess going back to, again, my major, I didn't know what I wanted to do when I grew up. So I get I picked a flexible major. And then when I did my internships, like I said, I was at the Mayo Clinic, yeah, which was instrumental in again, guiding me towards human medicine. And then when I worked for Roche, which I worked on slide staining platforms as a systems integration engineering injury, where I actually got to see how my work in a few years after I left, and they actually changed the way cancer patients are diagnosed. And that was really kind of a cool moment for me, where I, you know, got to explore the oldest stuff happening and human medicine, and then I realized that it would be really, it would be a really interesting career to go into medicine and become a doctor and then also use my engineering background to, to do research, and to bridge that gap between medicine engine engineering.

Venkat Raman  22:49  

Now, you're also studying bio engineering. Now did you pick that because it was a nice nexus between engineering and medicine.

Tyler  22:59  

It was. So after I, you know, I graduated from Iowa State chemical engineering, then I went to University of Minnesota for for my Doctorate of Medicine, they have a special program where you can get a Masters of biomedical engineering, alongside your Doctorate of Medicine. And that program is specifically for engineers that have come from undergrad. And in order to do research in medicine, it really helps to have a graduate degree of some kind, whether that's a PhD, or in or a master's. Yeah. And, you know, I felt like there was more to learn. Obviously, engineering is a vast field. And chemical engineering does not scratch the surface of what the greater engineering knowledge is. So I decided to take a year and really explore that.

Venkat Raman  23:47  

So give me some perspective on how bio engineering is going to I don't know what to say make you a better doctor, whatever you end up doing, but maybe medicine research, how do you think that's going to be synergistic.

Tyler  24:05  

So with my I guess, greater career when I graduate medical school, will most likely end up in head and neck surgery. And head neck surgery is a field that has been the beneficiary of lots of the engineering advances. The Colker implant is probably the most notable one that came from engineers, and that is a Head and Neck Surgery device. And I again, as my engineering with an engineering background, you know, I could leverage this and use my medical knowledge to really do some cool stuff. So not only is it it's, you know, it's I think it's making me a better doctor because of problem solving skills and attention to detail. But I'm also using my medical knowledge to become a better engineer. So it's almost like a two way street that again, you said there's a synergistic effect with this and that's exactly what's happening. That's awesome.

Venkat Raman  25:05  

Okay, so I think I know the answer to this, but tell me how Iowa State has shaped all the stuff you've done over the last couple of years? I mean, you've, you've sort of accomplished quite a bit here.

Tyler  25:19  [ISU’s Impact]

So I like to think that I don't know if I would be where I am without Iowa State. And that I mean that with also all the sincerity that I can, because they're all the opportunities were there. For me that was state. You know, it really again, paved the way to the internships to medical school to eventually this engineering program. And I just thought I was it was the perfect environment for me to succeed. You know, there, are there stories out there how, you know, people go into engineering, and end up switching majors or not making it through. And that's, that's completely fine. But I, you know, I do think finding a place to succeed is the most important part. And I was state was, was that place for me.

Venkat Raman  26:06  

With that kind of backdrop, if you were to go back and redo those four years, what would you do differently? You mentioned about engineering programs starting out in a gender program, what else?

Tyler  26:20  [ISU Redo]

So again, in addition to maybe starting out in the general program, I think getting more involved with other student groups, would be something that I would do if I had gone back, I think I focused on classes almost exclusively, most of the time, even though I did have extracurriculars in there, and it's not a bad thing. You know, things worked out. But I think there could have been a better balance in there. Because there's just so many interesting things happening if state, like, research is something that I probably would have enjoyed getting more involved in. There's a lot of robust research happening, and I was state, all over the place. But yeah, in addition to research and extracurriculars, I think those are the only two things that I would, I would change if I went back.

Venkat Raman  27:15  

Okay, so let's sort of use all that knowledge and experience and tell aspiring students what they might be, or the or they should be doing, or preparing for college.

Tyler  27:30  [Advice to Aspirants]

I think the number one thing that that aspiring students can be doing is really trying to explore different careers out there. I don't think it's necessarily important to know what you want to do. When you go to college. I think that's a process. But I think it's important to know what's out there and understand what that is. And what I mean is that, you know, if you want to go into engineering, you know, know what the different engineering fields do interview people who work in those fields, or if you, you know, any other major, you know, talk to people. Because at the end of the day, that's gonna really help you make a more informed choice in college and be able to get you to where you want to go and you will be happiest.

Venkat Raman  28:16  

You know, we're coming to the end of the podcast, it's, it's a good time to, you know, maybe share some memories or traditions or any other thoughts you might have that the listeners might like, about iostream

Tyler  28:31  [Memories: Athletics at ISU]

oh, gosh, let me let me think. There are a lot of cool traditions that I will state I think one is just in general, the athletics, I have a lot of fond memories of standing in lines before the basketball games to get tickets or, or, you know, after the football games, when, you know, we beat someone that we're not supposed to beat. Those are all, you know, fond memories. Additionally, I remember homecoming week as really, you know, some of the better traditions. You know, there's just a whole lot of stuff going on a lot of events, a lot of different opportunities to, you know, do some cool stuff. And then in the winter, I always remember the the Christmas tree that goes up outside of beer cheer. And then they also have a week long winter events. And I always thought that was really cool, because it was right around finals. And, you know, you could always go and go to something at the MMU that's happening. You know, there was some concert happening. And there was always I guess the moral of this is there was always something to be done. And I was, you know, if you wanted to go hang out on a weekend or whatnot, you know, there was always something you could find to do.

Venkat Raman  29:53  

Very well. So, Tyler, thank you so much for sharing your Story. you're onto something and really excited for you. And I hope you have a successful career. I'm sure I'd want to talk to you more as we go along. But for now, take care. Be safe. Thank you so much.

Tyler  30:16  

Thank you for having me on. I really enjoyed this.

Venkat Raman  30:18  

Thank you. Bye bye

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Venkat  30:26  [Close]

Hi again!

Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Tyler Gathman about Iowa State University.

Tyler’s college experience is very focused on what he wanted to accomplish.

He jumped into Engineering from the get-go and immersed himself in it and excelled.

Outside of class, Tyler was part of church groups, professional engineering organizations and loved Intramural Sports.

His summer internship at Mayo Clinic sparked his interest in medicine, which he pursued upon graduation.

I hope Tyler’s experience motivates you to research Iowa State more.

For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io].

Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you!


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