Raven Athlete Engineers Get D.C.-area Experience

The Gregorian Fellows Leadership Program at Benedictine College promotes Catholic identity in public life by forming a new generation of leaders who unite faith and reason in their work. On Fellows Fridays, the Gregorian Institute will introduce you to some of these extraordinary students.

Two Gregorian Fellows, Liam Morel and Jane Pennefather, student athletes in the Engineering program at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, both served in internships at Progeny Systems, a private engineering company in the Washington, D.C. area this past summer. Progeny is a subcontractor for the Navy, currently working on updating a munitions system.

Jane, from Manassas, Va., plays basketball and will graduate in 2021. She was mentioned in this Gregorian story about her aunt, “Basketball Star Left Court for Convent.”

“My contribution to this task was helping to make 3D models and assembly drawings for certain parts of the system,” Jane said. “I was able to secure the job after a phone interview primarily because I had taken 3D CAD classes here at Benedictine, which gave me the skill sets that they were looking for.”

The job involved a lot of challenging tasks, but also some tedious ones. “My supervisor asked my fellow intern and classmate, Liam Morel, and me to test a prototype of a cabinet cover by taking it off of the cabinet and putting it back — one thousand times. Throughout the week, we would take turns going to the lab and cranking out a hundred or so repetitions of the task, coming back sometimes slightly sore.”

Liam, from Thompson’s Station, Tenn., is also a 2021 graduate and a member of the Cross Country Team.

Liam said, “All of my supervisors seemed to care more about my professional growth than my usefulness. They were patient with me as I learned the intricacies of the company and took a personal interest in my life.”

Benedictine College’s mission is community, faith and scholarship. The two each appreciated the opportunity to attend daily Mass and the opportunity to build community with their coworkers by scheduling side trips.

“A high point of the summer was when I went rock climbing with some of my fellow interns and I got to make new friends,” Liam said. “One of them was a part of the drone team at Progeny and let me tag along one day as they were testing out new technology on a drone.”

Jane said she also had the opportunity during down time “to put my 3D modeling skills to a somewhat different use. I designed and printed a 3D model that reads BENEDICTINE when turned one way, and ENGINEERING when turned the other way.”

Benedictine College offers ABET accredited degrees in Mechanical, Civil and Chemical Engineering disciplines in which nine PhDs who together have 11 patents and decades of industry experience teach and place students in remarkable careers. Additionally the college offers Electrical Engineering on its Atchison, Kansas, campus in cooperation with the University of North Dakota.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.