Example Maker

5 Students Who are Example Makers

5 Students Who
Zach Umperovitch

Zach Umperovitch

  • Mel Chua
  • Amanda Emery
  • LeRoy E. Gordon III
  • Erika Healy
  • Zach Umperovitch

Name: Zach Umperovitch
Major: Geology and Geophysics
Year: 1st year master’s degree
Hometown: West Lafayette, Indiana

You may have seen Zach on the History Channel’s “Modern Marvels,” read about him in the Guinness Book of World Records or had him as your Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) teaching assistant. Zach is the president of the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers Rube Goldberg Team, founder of the Purdue University Geological Society and is passionate about sharing his knowledge of science and innovation with others.

Inspired to experiment

“One of my most influential mentors captained the Rube Goldberg team before me. He had the perfect way to teach others how to take something they were envisioning and build it. He helped me learn to experiment with different tools and ideas in order to physically build models rather then just designing or sketching it. I wish to give back what I learned from him.”

Realize dreams

“Every year we have new Rube Goldberg team members who have never built anything before. Over the years, I have bettered my skills in helping these students to implement what they are envisioning.”

Reverse engineering

“Building Rube Goldberg machines allows me to showcase engineering and science in a completely different way. Engineering aims to make something completely efficient, but in Rube Goldberg, we design a machine to be completely inefficient. When we show these machines to elementary students during College Mentors for Kids events, their eyes light up and it encourages them to think outside the box.”

Enjoy the exploration

“I founded the Purdue University Geological Society to mentor new students coming into the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Very few people start off as EAS majors, so changing majors and figuring out what you can do with a geology degree can be intimidating. I wanted to give students opportunities to explore different careers and have fun along the way.”

Go the extra mile

“The geology class I teach has seven exams, and after the fourth exam one of my students who was struggling came over to thank me for putting in so much time and effort to review with the class before the exam. It was one of those memorable moments that makes me want to continue teaching.”

By Atul Todi and Kelly Rogers
Published February 2012