Editor’s Note — This is part of a conversation series highlighted as part of Native American Heritage Month on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Medium page. The series will feature students who are making impacts on campus and beyond.
Working on a ranch kickstarted Ketch Claymore’s interest in engineering. Now, Claymore, of McLaughlin, South Dakota, is a mechanical engineering major with a minor in robotics and automated systems, and he’s giving back through leadership in programs that have helped him grow in college.
What originally drew you to engineering?
I would have to say that my interest in engineering as a whole started with living and working on a ranch. It kickstarted my interest in all mechanical things, from learning how to take apart and rebuild items around my house, to learning about what it takes to be able to build things to help those around me. The type of engineering that I am most interested in is what I am pursuing, which is mechanical engineering with a minor in robotics engineering. Looking to the future, I want to go to grad school for a doctorate in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics and move into the workforce working in robotics and automated systems.
Talk about helping with the summer Engineering Readiness Academy.
Moving to college, I had some idea of what it was going to be like, but I wanted to make sure I was ready for the challenges ahead of me. My mom was the one who originally found out about Engineering Readiness Academy and enrolled me. Engineering Readiness Academy, also known as ERA, is a program that first-year engineering students can take to prepare for college workloads, living, and meeting many other students. After attending ERA, I knew I wanted to give back to the engineering community and was subsequently chosen for the opportunity to help lead the program. One of my favorite parts of ERA for me is being able to guide and help other students with the transition into college.
You’re part of the Multicultural Engineering Program. How has being part of MEP impacted your college career?
Being a part of the MEP has been major in my path to becoming a professional engineer. It has not only given me monetary help in the form of a scholarship, but has also been essential to my growth in the cultural and soft skills that will help me in the future. If you are interested in joining MEP or another program like it, I highly recommend you talk with an adviser about the program and how it can help you.
What does Native American Heritage Month mean for you?
My heritage has been a very important driving force for my time pursuing higher education here at UNL. I have the time and place to not only stop and reflect on how my accomplishments have gotten me here but also give all those who don’t understand the right materials to start to understand such a rich and deep culture. Overall, I think it’s very important to be able to have time to explore different cultures.
What is your advice to other students looking to make an impact on campus?
There are so many opportunities to not only make an impact within the engineering sphere, but the entirety of campus and beyond, there’s so many possibilities. I have joined the UNL Climbing Club as the vice president and am the head leadership trainer for ERA. Overall, I feel that if you put yourself out there and talk with people, there is no end to the opportunities you can pursue.
Who or what inspires you?
One person, or I should say persons, who have been a huge inspiration for not only my pursuit of engineering but also my humility and accomplishments would be my family. They have sacrificed so much for me to be able to attend higher education even when they did not get the opportunity. Their blood, sweat and tears are what made me who I am. I also wanted to speak about my other guardians who, even though I never saw them being in my life, have given me the respect and understanding I would never have gained without them.
What do you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
I hope to be able to help those most affected back home in reservations around South Dakota and beyond. There are so many who struggle to attend higher education and don’t get the opportunities that I do. In the future, I also want to open my own climbing gym and exercise facility for people who have nowhere else to go and give them the opportunity that would have helped me.