Matan Utschen

Engineering Futures Scholar

Matan Utschen, a first-generation mechanical engineer at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, said he originally wanted to be a chemical engineer, stemming from his background in chemistry, but realized while working on various mechanical engineering projects that this was what he was most passionate about. 

Some of the projects he worked were done through two different reverse engineering computer-aided design applications: Solidworks and Autodesk Inventor. He enjoyed going through the tedious process of taking things a part and then recreating it in 3D modeling.

Utschen, who moved from Chicago to Arizona, was compelled to attend Arizona State University when he learned about how research-based his mechanical engineering program was. He was also drawn to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program where he can research current world issues and how to solve those problems through engineering. 

“It mostly just comes down to I’m just interested in learning things and the research that a lot of professors are doing just sparked my interest,” Utschen said. “I just like seeing the work that they’re doing and being able to contribute to it as well.”

Being a first-generation college student, he said he approaches things differently than other people who aren’t in his same position. He reached out to his high school advisors, teachers or anyone who was willing to help him in order to prepare for college. 

“There’s things where sometimes I’m just confused out of my mind, like how things work and whatnot, but I would say I tried my best to compensate for that in high school,” Utschen said. “I think I prepared pretty well because my parents really didn’t even know that much.”

Outside of school, Utschen is a member of an ASU Poker club. There’s no actual gambling, but he enjoys just playing a few rounds and having the opportunity to mingle. 

“This is just my time away that I cannot be an engineer for a little while and just go have fun with some guys just to be able to talk,” Utschen said.

Since coming to college he’s had to learn when to prioritize his assignments over plans with “amazing” friends he’s made since he’s been here.

“You always just want to hang out with them and it’s sometimes hard to say no, I can’t right now, I have to study, I have to do homework, or I have to finish work on this project,” Utschen said. 

By Laura Stack, Science and Technology Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
May 12, 2020