Swimmer Trevor Wagoner wasted little time immersing himself into his mechanical engineering studies at Hope College.
The junior from Hixson, Tennessee (McCalle HS) followed his passion from high school.
“I’ve always been very involved and interested in physics and mathematics starting in high school,” Wagoner said. “I knew I had that interest, so coming into college I got involved with that right off the bat. I had a good advisor, who helped spark my interest in topics and career opportunities.”
Wagoner has worked diligently on his studies in a demanding field.
He juggles his time in the pool with his academic prowess. Besides his major, he is minoring in mathematics and physics.
A strong work ethic has helped Wagoner become a two-time Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Academic Honor Roll recipient during his first two years at Hope.
He is glad he found Hope after a mid-summer motorcycle ride by one of his high school counselors set the wheels in motion.
“My counselor was on a motorcycle tour through the area and he stopped by Hope,” Wagoner said. “He called me on my cell phone and said, ‘This is an awesome campus, you need to come and visit because I think you will fit in well here’. I came up for a visit, fell in love with the place and here I am.”
Wagoner said the private school afforded him the opportunity to look for colleges outside of the state.
“One of the coolest things about that school is that they have a great college guidance program,” he said. “I was given a counselor who I met with one-on-one all the time. He helped me broaden my search from schools from just the South and Southeast.
“Hope is known for having a broad-based engineering curriculum, and you get experience in all the different kinds of engineering. Your junior and senior years you focus on a particular emphasis.”
Wagoner takes part in the music program at Hope. He also is involved in residential life and student development as a residential advisor.
He said expanding his horizons outside of school helps attract future employers.
“It’s important to be well rounded, and I’ve talked to employers and recent graduates,” he said. “They said that the most important parts of their Hope education in regards to a career is a liberal arts aspect, not just engineering, but skills beyond that.”
Wagoner recently became involved in the Formula SAE (Society for Automotive Engines) team.
“We basically build a race car and then we compete in April,” he said. “It was recommended by my advisor and people in the industry were looking at students for project-based work. Formula is a great place to get hands-on experience.”
Hope swimming and diving coach John Patnott said Wagoner stays on task despite his practice schedule and heavy academic workload.
“He really does exceptional and is a true student-athlete,” he said. “He never misses practices and works out 3 ½ hours four days a week. That’s a lot of time to take away from your studies, but he’s very focused on his studies with his grades in a tough major.
“He organizes his time. For other athletes to see that is important.”
Wagoner plans on going into the industry after graduation, with the hopes of landing his dream job.
“I want to get some hands-on training, and then go back to graduate school with the focus on aerospace engineering,” he said. “That’s the end game. I would love to be a part of that.”