Source: WIU Graduates First Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering Students

Associate Professor WIU Civil Engineering

Associate Professor of Engineering Blair McDonald and Jeremy May, new alumnus of WIU Civil Engineering

MACOMB, IL – – The Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering programs on Western Illinois University’s Quad Cities campus have marked their first graduates.

Jeremy May, of Geneseo, IL, received his degree in Civil Engineering, and Dakota Wilson, of East Moline, IL; Jeffrey Latham, of Davenport IA; and Travis Ohlsen, of Moline IL received their degrees in Electrical Engineering in May.

In Spring 2019, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) approved new degrees in Electrical Engineering (EE) and Civil Engineering (CE) within the WIU School of Engineering, which began in Fall 2020.

Western’s Civil Engineering program prepares graduates to work in the structural, geotechnical, transportation and water resources areas of either government (local or federal) or private practice. While May is the first Civil Engineering graduate from this new program, several students have graduated in recent years with a civil engineering emphasis, and all are now working with companies such as Shive-Hattery, Inc., Bruner, Cooper & Zuck, Inc., the US Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois Department of Transportation. Many WIU Engineering graduates have gone on to obtain their professional licensures, which involves a four-year process following graduation.

Electrical Engineering develops students’ knowledge of rapidly expanding technologies in electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. One of the requirements of an EE degree is to take an additional math course, Linear Algebra, which allows all EE students to automatically obtain a minor in Mathematics. Latham, Ohlsen and Wilson all make up the EE Senior Design Team for an Autonomous Tracked Vehicle.

Latham plans to continue his education with the University of Arizona‘s Engineering-Robotics and Automation graduate program. Ohlsen recently completed his internship with KONE Escalator Supply Unit and began working full time for the company before he completed his WIU degree. Wilson began working full time for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to completing his degree and will continue that position.

Professor Il-Seop Shin with Students at WIU

Left to right: Dakota Wilson, Jeffrey Latham, Travis Ohlsen and Associate Professor Il-Seop Shin

“Civil engineering has been a passion of mine since eighth grade,” said May. After completion of the program and an internship, I definitely see myself enjoying the design aspects of civil engineering. It’s really neat to see an entire project come together start to finish. With WIU, I really enjoyed the small classes and relationships with the professors. And Western offers great flexibility to have the opportunity to work while you’re in school, and there are plenty of companies in the QC area that are receptive to part-time student employees. The experience is just so valuable. The biggest thing I learned while in the CE program at WIU is that the options are limitless as far as professional opportunities. There are so many different avenues that a civil engineer can go down, and that became very clear to me from WIU. Dr. McDonald made me enjoy the course work far more than I ever had in my academic career, a relationship I found only at WIU.”

“Before attending Western, I had been out of school for seven years, so it’s hard to say where I’d be now without the individualized instruction I received from the faculty,” said Latham. “I’m very grateful for all the help and support from Dr. Rabchuk, Dr. Shin, Dr. Brooks and Dr. McDonald as I visited their offices many times throughout the years. Beyond the job and classroom instruction, these are just great people. It’s cool to be recognized as being one of the first graduates of my program, and I appreciate all those who helped me get here.”

For more information on the WIU Engineering degree options, visit

Posted By: WIU News ()
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