Class of 2016: Meet John Galla (Mechanical Engineering)

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend.  We sat down to talk to some remarkable seniors before they left school and we’d like to a few of our students who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet  John Galla:

John Galla

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Erie

On choosing Behrend: I started college as an economics major at Pitt, but wanted a smaller campus. I also wanted to switch to engineering, and haven’t regretted the decision. I have great relationships with most of my professors because Behrend is a personal school.

Engineering as seen on TV: I had a fantastic summer internship at FMC Technologies in Houston. One R&D project required my mentor and me to build a dipping machine that would consistently coat specimens. But we didn’t have any budget to build it, so we improvised and built a working machine from parts that were lying around, including a television stand and coffee stirrers. It was a real example of MacGyver-ing.

Student as teacher: I teach the computer lab, which is part of Introduction to Engineering Design. I show first-year engineering students how to use Autodesk Inventor, Excel, and Mathcad. I’m pretty good at teaching and explaining things to other students and have been tutoring and teaching almost constantly since high school. It’s been a great opportunity to give back to the school that has given me an excellent education.

What you would be surprised to know about him: I’m a good public speaker and presenter. I am a shy and introverted person, yet I never really get nervous speaking in front of a crowd.

Advice for current students: Sweat the small stuff and be persistent. Building good habits early makes it much easier when the answers aren’t in the back of the book. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s the easiest way to get to know your professors and coworkers. A relationship with your professors and coworkers is one of the best reasons to stay motivated and do good work. You don’t want to disappoint a professor you like, or embarrass yourself.

John has accepted a position at Cummins a product validation engineer at the company’s Jamestown Engine Plant.  


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