Asking young alumni to make financial contributions to their alma mater can be a tough sell. After all, didn’t they just pay a lot of money for their college education? For Jacob Bowes however, giving back could not be more important.
“You really take for granted as a college student, whether you believe it or not, that you get a lot of your future life experiences from what you learn in college.” Bowes said. “At the end of the four years you’re a whole new person, a better person, you’ve changed. The best thing you can do is make that happen for someone else. It doesn’t have to be big, even on a smaller level what you do makes an impact.”
Born and raised in Garner, NC, Bowes came to love NC State at an early age. After his acceptance, he decided to pursue civil engineering, following in the technical footsteps of his father, who is a professional land surveyor. Nearly five years later, Bowes is a successful alumnus with a broad network of contacts, a career that he loves and a new perspective on life. He is employed as an Engineer Intern with McKim & Creed, focusing on both water/wastewater management design and construction administration, which, for him, could not be a better fit. “I’m getting the best of both worlds,” Bowes said. “I love working with the design and coming up with things from scratch, but I also love seeing projects through and working with other people out in the field, which is great for my personality.”
During his undergraduate years, Bowes capitalized on his love of working with people, and as both a Chancellor’s aide and the president of the Student Wolfpack Club, he saw firsthand the importance of philanthropy. “I got to meet a lot of the donors that made my experiences possible, and that’s kind of a direct transition to the mindset I have now, which is ‘wow, that’s really cool, how can I make that happen for someone else?’” Bowes said. “There are a lot of people out there that have a ton of money, and there are people out who don’t – but the one thing they all have in common is that they’re giving back to NC State and making the experiences that I had as a student possible.”
For Bowes, the transition from volunteering as a student to giving back as an alumnus was seamless. He has begun working with the NC State Engineering Foundation to raise money for the College’s improvement projects, and currently acts as a liaison between the College and McKim & Creed, encouraging other alumni to give back. He made his first annual donation to the College in October and is particularly excited about the new Engineering Building Oval, the new home for the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering and the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
Thinking about the greatest impact NC State had on him as a person, Bowes said “The College of Engineering mentally strengthened me. I saw the world in a different way before I came to NC State, and it wasn’t the right or wrong way, I just saw things differently. The College of Engineering taught to me to see things in rational, practical ways and from multiple facets. I don’t just see things for how they are, I appreciate how they were made and how they came together. I really just enjoy life more.” As an active alumnus, that is the experience Bowes hopes to pass on to the next generation of engineers.