The Road to Becoming an Engineer Begins at FVCC

If you enjoy applying math and science principles to solve problems, you might want to consider a career as an engineer.

Or as Flathead Valley Community College professor Dr. Effat Rady says, “If you like to be challenged and don’t want to be bored, go into engineering.”

Dr. Rady, a graduate of MIT, has taught engineering classes at FVCC since 2003. She and her STEM colleagues prepare students to transfer with junior status to engineering programs at Montana State University (MSU), Montana Tech of the University of Montana, and colleges and universities around the country. She has been called a “tough” teacher by many of her students.

“Yes, they say that,” she admits. “I challenge my students because I want them to do well when they transfer. And almost always, a few years later, they call me and say ‘thank you for being so tough.’”

Her former students are not the only ones who thank her. Engineering professors at MSU and Montana Tech routinely tell her that their transfer students from FVCC are top-notch. One professor who has taught engineering courses at MSU for 30 years recently told her, “I have never seen a bad student come from FVCC.”

To be a successful engineering student, it takes commitment. Data from universities and colleges around the country show that it takes most students five years to complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Beginning the pursuit of an engineering degree at FVCC is a smart choice. FVCC’s small class sizes and personalized attention from instructors allow students to master the fundamentals before moving on to upper-division courses.

“We don’t take our jobs 9 to 5,” said Dr. Rady. “We are here as long as our students need us.”

One such student, Andrew Crawford, participated in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars competition to design a Mars rover and won a trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. After completing an internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Crawford went on to work for Google/Waymo, a technology company in the Bay Area that is developing self-driving vehicles as a safe and easy mode of transporting people and freight. You can learn more about Crawford’s journey by listening to his TEDx Talk, “Reaching Escape Velocity: Pro Snowboarder to Rocket Scientist.”

Crawford is just one of many FVCC alum who are working on solving some of the world’s most interesting engineering problems. But don’t just take our word for it. FVCC graduates Garrett Peebles and Louis Grisez made this video to share why they believe FVCC is the perfect place to begin your pursuit of an engineering degree. Peebles earned an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MSU and now works at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory.

If you’d like to learn more about how FVCC can prepare you for a successful career as an engineer, give us a call at (406)756-3857 or visit