I grew up in The United Methodist Church. My family taught me the importance of having a dedicated faith community and that a church is like a huge extended family. I fondly call many people at First United Methodist Church, Wausau, Wisconsin, my aunts and uncles, as they are the people who taught me the value of service to the community.
I was always bookish and shy growing up, meaning most people in my church recall me sitting in the corner of the parlor after service reading something. My parents had both attended college and attributed much of their success in life to having a good education, so it wasn’t really a question that I would attend college.
My decision to be an environmental engineer was especially influenced by my confirmation mentor, Sue, as she is extremely passionate about environmental conservation and having a lifestyle that is eco-conscious.
Unlike many other students at Marquette University in Milwaukee, I do not have financial support from my parents. I have had to work extremely hard to save the money necessary to afford an education. Because of the generous Gift of Hope Scholarship, supported by the United Methodist Student Day offering of The United Methodist Church, I can spend less time working and more time focusing on my studies, and I am grateful.
Marquette has prepared me for my future career by teaching me not only the technical skills needed to be an engineer, but also the skills needed to be a kind and ethical person in the professional world. Attending a school with a religious affiliation has meant that I have taken classes on a wide array of topics, from anthropology to theology, and that I am a well-rounded individual. I have learned to consider the ethics of projects along with the technical side of engineering.
My most memorable school experience so far has been Engineering Design Day. During the spring, all engineering students present projects that they have been working on throughout the year. I was in a group that presented a project on playground equipment that can be installed at schools in developing nations in order to generate electricity. It was wonderful to receive feedback from professors, professional engineers and other students about the pros and cons of our project.
At Marquette, I am involved in Engineers Without Borders. Our chapter is building and designing an elementary school for a community in Guatemala. I am involved with collecting and presenting weather data that will be used to construct a rainwater collection system for the site.
Making a difference at home is important to me, too. I am a member of the administrative council and the board of trustees at Summerfield United Methodist Church, Milwaukee. I do maintenance around the church’s 100-year-old building and take care of the church’s garden during the summer.
My church serves a meal each Saturday for 100 homeless individuals and provides them with clean clothes and showers. I have been cooking for the meal program and doing laundry for the past two years. I love the relationship I have with people who repeatedly attend the meal program.
My goals for the future are to design and build low-cost housing for homeless people and to help with the expansion of Summerfield’s outreach. I hope my experience as an engineer can help make a positive impact in the lives of people who cannot afford conventional housing in a big city where housing is costly.
Danielle Del Corte, Gift of Hope Scholar, Wisconsin
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Student Day calls the church to support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. The special offering provides scholarships for qualified United Methodist applicants.