Class of 2023 honors graduate Ian Replinger’s go-to fun fact is that he’s been in the two largest buildings in the world: the Boeing Everett factory in Washington and the Tesla Gigafactory in Texas. How did he get to spend time in these unique spaces? During Ian’s time at Oregon State University, he had four engineering internships: two with Boeing and two with Tesla.
Ian knew he wanted to be an engineer when he first arrived on campus, but it took him time to find his path in industrial engineering and sustainability. However, from the very beginning, Ian knew that Oregon State and the Honors College were the perfect place for him, offering the resources of a big state school while also providing community and small class sizes.
When looking back on his time in the Honors College, Ian fondly remembers the community-centric events the college puts on. Some of his favorites were Dean and Friends lunch conversations with industry leaders and Honors College Student Association midnight breakfasts before finals week.
Outside of the Honors College, Ian was heavily involved in the College of Engineering. He served as an officer in the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers for three years and as president this past year. He has presented his research at two IISE conferences, winning third place for Outstanding Technical Paper at the 2023 Western Regional Conference. Ian also worked as a College of Engineering ambassador, as a program specialist for Community Education and Leadership and as a field specialist for the Adventure Leadership Institute. He enjoyed that each of these positions helped strengthen his leadership skills and gave him opportunities to develop new skills outside of his courses.
Ian’s Honors College thesis, “When Normal Distributions Fail: An Application of Feature Engineering to YouTube,” examined how specific features of YouTube videos affect the views of a video. He created a conceptual framework using a multi-factor ANOVA and used data from a YouTube channel to test which factors had an impact. He successfully defended his thesis on March 8, 2023.
After Ian finished his finals later in March, he drove 2,000 miles to Austin, Texas for a second internship with Tesla as a process engineer in the stamping department after previously interning in Fremont, California for their plastics and paint department. He says he enjoys the opportunity to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. The teams I have been on at Tesla are changing the world, and I’m a part of it. It’s also a great way to combine my interests and formal education from my industrial engineering and sustainability degrees.”
After his internship concludes, Ian will return to Oregon State to finish his master’s degree in industrial engineering, which he started through an accelerated program while still an undergraduate. He initially did not plan on continuing his education, but after working on his honors thesis, he realized he found the results phase to be exciting and something he wanted to continue to work on.
Ian’s advice for current and future HC students is to not fear the thesis, saying “I thought an honors thesis was an absolute mountain of work and everyone was spending hundreds of hours of work on them. My actual experience has been totally different than that earlier misconception: an honors thesis is what you put into it.”
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