When I was in the final stages of completing my master’s degree at the University of Utah and in one of Dr. Hoeppner’s classes, I had attended class one afternoon wearing interview attire.  He inquired if I was looking for a job.  He encouraged me to talk to him about continuing on for a doctorate; I had never really considered this seriously before.  I set up a meeting time with him and was immediately interested in the possibilities.  The research being performed at the time was corrosion fatigue related, in which I had personal interest, used the latest in lab testing and control equipment and explored fundamental areas of science.  It was a great opportunity for me, and I took full advantage of it.

While in Dr. Hoeppner’s lab, I learned valuable research skills and put into practice the knowledge gained in my graduate courses.  I had opportunities to travel internationally with his sponsorship to the 2003 International Committee on Aeronautical Fatigue Conference and Symposium and various Holistic Structural Integrity Process workshops which helped build connections within the aircraft structures community that were a tremendous building block to begin my career.  Under Dr. Hoeppner’s tutelage, I learned firsthand how much he valued strong ethics, which he lived personally:

  • Search for and promote truth no matter the cost.
  • Always do what is right.
  • Stand up for what you believe in.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know.

These values inspire me regularly to continue on and fight for the things that are important in my current position, as well as provide motivation to continue on in a technical career field that is not always easy.

I will always be grateful for the knowledge, both technical and personal, that I gained from studying with Dr. Hoeppner.  He was never afraid to share insights with his students, listen to our ideas and celebrate our accomplishments.  Many hours were spent in his office discussing various topics or in the lab as we showed him our latest research breakthrough.  We always knew what he expected from us, which motivated me to do my best.  Dr. Hoeppner prepares his students to finish their university studies and progress to be contributing members and leaders in the engineering community.  I am proud to have been one of his graduate students and look forward to our continued interaction.  Without Dr. Hoeppner’s influence and mentoring, I would not be as well prepared for my chosen career and likely would be on a very different path.  I cannot thank him enough for the learning experiences and amazing opportunities he helped me to envision.