Thinking Like an Engineer

photograph of Jordan PeckJordan Peck ’06 loves politics. He also loves technology. At the Watson School, he developed the skills he needed to pursue them both.

In 2008 he completed a master's degree in technology and policy at MIT, and he plans a career in hospital operations. Currently he's working toward a doctorate in engineering systems, also at MIT.

So how does a degree in mechanical engineering from Binghamton's Watson School fit in to his life plan?

"Watson taught me to think like an engineer," says Peck. "I learned a set of problem-solving methods that allow me to think outside the box. At Watson, solving problems isn't about applying the right formula; it's about figuring out what you know, what you don't know, and how to combine things to find the answer."

At MIT, Peck quickly got involved in research centering on hospital operations. At first, his work focused on optimizing processes in the hospital's emergency department, but it's evolved to encompass a lot more. "Now I'm taking a broader approach," he says of his work. "I'm looking at how a multiple-hospital network interacts with patients, the media, the supply chain, and itself-and examining ways to make it more efficient.

"If you look at an engine, you see interacting parts-you learn how to balance the different parts of complex system. What happens if you take a complex system and throw in health care and politics? I went into technology and policy because I wanted to take my engineering skills to a higher level. I'm still thinking like an engineer-just in a different environment."

Last Updated: 11/26/13