Jim West earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a focus in biomedical engineering from the University of Kansas and will graduate with his master’s degree in biomedical product development in May 2009.
For West, it was never too late to pursue his education. After being self-taught in graphic design and information technology, West quit his job to follow his dream of earning a degree. In 2005, the 25-year-old West enrolled in the mechanical engineering program at the University of Kansas. The degree’s challenging subject matter and broad education appealed to West. His previous work experience and life lessons played an intricate part in his educational success.
During the course of a year, West was recommended for and awarded two internships. In November 2008, West was selected as the science and technology research intern at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo. His duties include weekly presentations on the state of science and technology to focus the Foundation’s investments and future partnerships. In addition, he collaborates with a team on ways to improve the visibility of iBridgenetwork.org, a network of resources for entrepreneurs. West feels that taking this internship was one of the best decisions he made due to the successful people he works with and the business knowledge he has obtained. His previous internship as a mechanical engineering intern at Porter-McGuffie, in Lawrence, Kan., provided him the opportunity to write a complete software package to analyze vibrations.
At the University of Kansas, West was given the opportunity to learn how to become an effective leader. One of his most fulfilling accomplishments has been learning how to motivate and inspire people to be the best they can be. He hopes his leadership skills will guide children to become interested in science and engineering as a career.
West is the recipient of the Waldo G. Bowman Engineering Scholarship and the R&J Straight School of Engineering Scholarship. In addition, he was the winner of the Mechanical Engineering Department Outstanding Service Award, member of the university’s Dean’s List, and graduated seventh in his class. Currently, West is a graduate advisor, founding member of the Mechanical Engineering Student Advisory Board, vice president of the Bio-Medical Engineering Society Student Organization, and treasurer of American Society of Mechanical Engineering Student Organization at the University of Kansas. He also is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Honor Society and serves as president of Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honor Society.
West was born in Wichita, Kan. and raised in Lenexa, Kan. He and his wife currently reside in Kansas City, Kan. In his spare time, he enjoys riding his road bike, and for the past 13 years, has taught kung fu. In the future, West sees himself starting his own business and expanding his family. As a business owner, he hopes to be a compassionate leader and help his employees make positive life decisions in order for them to grow professionally and personally.