Alumni Spotlight: John McCulloch

John McCulloch graduated in 2016 with a degree in geological sciences from the School of Earth and Space Exploration. He was recently hired at Raytheon as a systems engineer and will be working on their missile systems.

When asked about his experiences at the School of Earth and Space Exploration, McCulloch says he enjoyed, from day one, the blending of engineering, geology, and astronomy. “One of the most valuable aspects to the school is its interdisciplinary nature,” he says.

In addition, he appreciated the opportunity to meet with advisors who worked to tailor his academic experience to his goals. He was also able to take rigorous and thought-provoking courses, be a part of an academic community, and immediately become involved in research projects.

“Most importantly,” says McCulloch, “in my four years as an undergrad I got to engage with well-respected professors in a way that I had previously thought was reserved only for graduate students.”

Included in some of the best experiences McCulloch had during his undergraduate years at ASU was being a project manager and systems engineer for the HIDRA Mission, a high altitude balloon payload. “Not only did it provide me with the opportunity to apply my studies and refine my leadership and technical skills, it also connected me with a great group of motivated, intelligent students,” says McCulloch. “It was one of my proudest memories.”

McCulloch’s advice to first year students at ASU is to engage early and often, to work as hard as possible, and take advantage of all the professional development opportunities that ASU has to offer.

“Whether it is joining professional society student chapters or volunteering for events, engage with you fellow students, professors, and teaching assistants,” he says. “There is so much more beyond the classroom.”

McCulloch also recommends Camp SESE, a 3-day excursion to Tonto Creek Camp that is part of the freshman course SES 191, where you get to know other students, faculty, and graduate students in the school. 

On the horizon, McCulloch hopes to help develop world class defense systems at Raytheon. And, he’s a strong believer in continuous self-improvement through education. He’s currently working on his Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and he hopes to earn his PMP accreditation, MBA degree, and PE certification before turning 35. 

“My Sun Devil story centers on opportunity,” says McCulloch. “ASU provides myriad opportunities for its students and empowers them to pursue their ideas. At ASU I didn’t just receive an education towards my degree, I was receiving the education and opportunities to thrive in the modern world.”

Photo Credit: ASU