EPIC is excited to share our Spotlight on Students! With the growing popularity of energy related studies, we want you to get to know the fantastic talent right here in EPIC. Spotlight on Students introduces you to undergraduate and graduate students and shares stories of their pursuit of a degree with an energy focus.
Donovan Gurganus
Graduating in May 2020, with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with an Energy Concentration

Norwood, NC

Looking ahead
In 10 years, he hopes to have acquired his PE and PMP, and possibly an advanced degree. He wants to be working with a company striving to strengthen the renewables sector as it relates to power generation.

Growing up, Donovan worked on a variety of projects with his father. Each time, his father stressed the importance of understanding the decision-making process behind each step of a project. This reflection helped Donovan improve his problem-solving skills – skills that are vital in the pursuit of a degree in engineering. Soon it was clear to Donovan's parents that he had a knack for basic engineering principles, so when it was time to think about college, his parents strongly suggested he look into engineering.
As Donovan began to explore where he would like to go to college, he had a connection to the university; his brother was already in the engineering program at UNC Charlotte. His brother's guidance was crucial to him choosing UNC Charlotte.

He also knew he wanted to work in the energy industry since his father has worked in this field for most of his career. Having the option to purse the Energy Concentration as part of his degree was the final reason he chose to attend UNC Charlotte. 
One of Donovan's most significant accomplishments, which happened this year, was helping create and becoming president of VOLT , an energy-based student organization on campus. He has found working with students who are as interested in Energy as he is, to have been an incredible opportunity; great things happen when students come together for a common goal!

VOLT has pushed Donovan to grow as a leader and work on his presentation abilities. Recently he was even asked to present information on VOLT to the EPIC External Advisory Board, which includes leaders in the energy industry.
I n 2019, Donovan applied for a co-op position at Duke Energy in the Regulate Renewables Group within their Hydro Division. In this role, he assists engineers in a variety of tasks and also creates CAD drawings. Not many students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience while in school, so Donovan was thrilled to be selected. This experience gave him an opportunity to learn more about the energy industry and to hone his skills.

Donovan has also benefited from re gularly attending the EPIC Energy Seminars, events and workshops held at the Career Center, and hosting events through VOLT. Attending these seminars and workshops allowed him to further his knowledge of the technological advances and careers in the energy industry, and expand his professional and personal skills. 
As Donovan looks back at his time at UNC Charlotte, he has advice for those beginning their educational journey in engineering. "My biggest piece of advice would be to do your research and keep an open mind; there are ample opportunities to work in the energy field, from contract work to actual power generation," stated Donovan. "Charlotte is a hub for the energy sector, but there are opportunities on an international scale. The options are limitless." Donovan added, "Get advice from professors and advisers, they’re more than willing to help."

If he could do it all again, Donovan stated, " I would try and be more involved in the events and workshops offered by EPIC, the University, and even student orga nizations. I really didn’t become active until my senior year, and maybe I would be more knowledgeable and social if I had." One of his biggest challenges as a student was learning to trust in his own abilities and listen to his instincts; whether it be school work or professional projects, he had to put doubt aside and believe that he was ready for whatever would be placed in front of him.