Drew Bennett: UMaine 2021 salutatorian

Drew Bennett of Brewer is the University of Maine 2021 salutatorian. Bennett is a mechanical engineering major with a minor in robotics. He has received Mid-South Engineering scholarships and the Thomas P. Hosmer Scholarship. 

Throughout his time on campus, Bennett has been an undergraduate research assistant in the Advanced Manufacturing Center. Last year, he also was a manufacturing intern with General Electric in Bangor and is currently an education application engineering intern with PTC in Boston.

On campus, Bennett is president of Black Bear Robotics and of the UMaine NASA Robotic Mining Challenge Team. In the community, he mentors youth robotics teams, including one at Brewer High School and one at Bucksport High School.

Bennett has accepted a full-time position as an education technical services engineer at PTC, where he will work with teachers, students and STEM organizations to implement the company’s software technology.

What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
UMaine gave me the resources I needed to develop my skills and establish myself as a successful engineer. Through my coursework, job at the AMC, and leadership in Black Bear Robotics, I’ve been able to hone my skills and find a full-time job utilizing them in a way I am passionate about.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has changed or shaped the way you see the world?
My trip down to the JFK Space Center in Florida as part of UMaine’s NASA Robotics Mining Challenge Team was a ton of fun and certainly encouraged me to dive deeper into the field of design engineering. Being able to see firsthand the feats of engineering that NASA has accomplished was a great experience.

Why UMaine?
As a local resident whose parents both graduated from UMaine, I’ve been familiar with the university for a long time. After attending the Consider Engineering program, I was impressed by how many unique engineering opportunities UMaine had to offer and how affordable the tuition was, making it an easy choice.

How would you define the opportunities for student success at UMaine? 
I would define the opportunities for student success as both unique and endless. There are so many different research opportunities, internships, and on-campus jobs that allow students to explore their passions and find success in the fields they care about.

Have you worked closely with a professor or mentor who made your UMaine experience better?
The director of the Advanced Manufacturing Center, John Belding, gave me a position at the AMC after I graduated high school. Since then, I’ve worked on many projects with John and made a great number of connections to industry professionals who helped me earn my internships. I wouldn’t have been able to find this much success without him.

What advice do you have for incoming students to help them get off to the best start academically?
Find a club, volunteer organization, or on-campus job that you’re passionate about. This is where you’ll meet your closest friends and make the professional connections that will help you succeed in the future.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, nagle@maine.edu