Mark Falinski playing Ultimate.

Alumni Profile

Mark Falinski

Student Leader: N/A

Since I thought EAS 140 (and small groups) was so valuable to me, I wanted to also help engineering students (especially those like me who were interested in engineering, but didn't feel like they had the passion for it). So, I was very pleased to be able to join the Student Leader team, and there is no doubt that I would do it again. I really think it helped me develop an appreciation for teaching and mentoring that I still have now, and I don't think I would have made the quality connections with the people at UB that I am still in touch with."

What did serving as a Student Leader mean to you? What motivated you to participate?
I realized early on in my academic career that I likely wasn't cut out to be an engineer, professionally. I knew I wanted to graduate with an engineering degree and either go to Law School or Grad School after my time at UB. I did not like the classes I took that much, except for one: EAS 140. I loved the problem solving, and I liked the ability to think like an engineer early on, building a skill base I could use in my engineering classes and one that I could also use in my other academic pursuits. Since I thought EAS 140 (and small groups) was so valuable to me, I wanted to also help engineering students (especially those like me who were interested in engineering, but didn't feel like they had the passion for it). So, I was very pleased to be able to join the Student Leader team, and there is no doubt that I would do it again. I really think it helped me develop an appreciation for teaching and mentoring that I still have now, and I don't think I would have made the quality connections with the people at UB that I am still in touch with. And, I am pretty sure that my participation as a Student Leader was a major reason I was accepted at my current PhD program.

A memory that remains with me from my Student Leader days is:

I think there are three very specific memories that I still think about really fondly from my time as a Student Leader:

1) My first year as a SL for EAS 140, there was a group that just was not doing very well with their turbine design. They asked me a lot of questions via email, I dedicated more time to them than any other group, and we met outside of lab hours so I could help them with their improvements. They were a team of bright students that were really excited about doing a quality job, but they just failed a lot. Well, with about a week left, their emails to me stopped, and I assumed that had given up and had resigned to having a below average turbine when all was said and done. When it came time for their final test, they improved dramatically! They had gone above and beyond in reading academic literature about turbine design, and ended up making a turbine that was top 2 or 3 in the class. I was so proud of this group, to see that hard work pay off for them in the end. (Their presentation was also really solid)

2) After I graduated, I went straight into a PhD program in Environmental Engineering. I had kept in touch with a few of the students I had been an SL for, but I was so excited when I received a message from one years after I was his SL. He decided that he would also be going to get his PhD, something him and I had talked at length about. I walked him through the entire application process and helped when I could, and he ended up at an incredible program to pursue a ChemE PhD. I was cool to have an impact on someone, even after I was no longer their Leader.

3) My last Small Groups session in the spring of my senior year. A group of us went out for drinks together after the last session, and it was awesome to be surrounded by the group of Leaders that I had taught with and grown with over the previous 3 years. A great way to send off the end of an era.