Brandon Bajzath

Brandon Bajzath AE
Major: Architectural Engineering
Class Year: 2023

When or how did you become interested in engineering?

I feel like I was always interested in how and why things work. My grandpa was a very skilled craftsman so maybe that sparked my initial interest in building, and inspired by him, I spent a lot of my childhood playing with Lego and Lincoln Logs. I liked problem solving, and engineering is pretty much about identifying problems and solving them! It’s also a very practical choice - engineering is stable career that will always have jobs.

When you were looking at colleges, what made Drexel stand out?

Drexel stood out because of its emphasis on global classroom and opportunities to study abroad as an engineer. I did a study tour in Italy where we looked at how to use city planning and new construction to revitalize an area.

I also loved Drexel because of the location. I wanted a city campus, but not something in the middle of a huge city, and Drexel is perfect. It has access to the city but feels like a secluded campus in a lot of parts of campus.

Tell us about one of your co-ops and how it helped you on your journey.

The first co-op I had was at Stonefield Engineering and Design in Princeton, New Jersey. They are a civil and site engineering firm. I mostly did the conceptual site plan drawings for commercial developments — I looked at the county code and designed the access points, sidewalks, building location, and overall site layout. It was really fulfilling because I was designing so many different types of sites – industrial, banks, food, grocery, apartments, etc.

What has been your favorite classroom experience?

Without a doubt, I love the design studio classes the most. The studio series starts with ARCH 191/192. These classes all have good professors and are way more subjective and designed to teach us how to think like an architect. We were required to build some physical massing models in tandem with CAD renderings. In my fourth year, I had AE 390 and 391, classes that act as a Junior Design project for Arch Eng students. These are small group, 6-month design projects, in which we actually created a surprising amount content and design analysis for our sculpture museum in Memphis TN.

Tell us about a moment where you could really see yourself as an engineer.

The first “hands on” experience I really felt was through my second co-op, at Wiss Janney Elstner, in Philly. WJE is firm of engineers, architects, and materials scientists who investigate, solve and repair issues related to a building’s enclosure (walls, windows, roof, etc.). I didn’t get to do as much design work as I was hoping, but I spent about 1/3 of my time actually in the field at various churches, malls, hotels, historical sites and more. WJE brought me to the very top of Liberty One, Liberty Two, the PSFS Building and dozens other really iconic and restricted spaces. I was a part of on-site investigations for crack and leak origins, for historic and routine surveying, and site investigation report preparation based on notes, pictures and drawings that I was responsible for. I felt like I was really doing real engineering.

What extracurricular groups are you in, and what do you enjoy about them?

I play on the Club volleyball team and was on the executive board for two years. I love that volleyball gets me consistently out of the house to go work out and truly have fun. As a freshman, I liked that I was able to meet and network with the upperclassmen, and now as a senior, I like that I am able to be a role model on the team and stay cool with these younger players.

What has living, learning and working in Philadelphia meant to you?

I’ve had so many more job opportunities and networking connections simply because I was living in a city. I can’t imagine living in a rural or suburban university for that reason.

It feels like Philadelphia is a very creative and innovative city that isn’t too large and loud, yet still has nearly infinite food, nightlife, job options. There is a scene for everyone. University City offers the feeling of a massive campus life with thousands of other students in a relatively similar life position.