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Engineering alumnus profile: David Clayton

David Clayton '99

David Clayton

Age: 32
Hometown: O Fallon, Illinois
High School: O Fallon Township
Major: Physics
Minor: Math
Graduate Study: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, 2000 (3-2 program); M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Southern California, 2002; PhD in Mechanical Engineering, University of Southern California, 2007

Current work: Engineer, Exponent, Los Angeles

David did the 3-2 co-op, starting his education at Augustana and finishing with an engineering degree at Illinois. He then went on to earn to advanced degrees at USC.

"I was fully prepared for the engineering curriculum based on what I'd been taught at Augie," he says. "And once I got to Illinois and then USC, the classes were small and specialized. I had an advantage because I already knew how to talk to professors, which helped me know what to get out of the classes."

At Exponent, David specializes in combustion, investigating fires and explosions. His company has handled things as small as residential home fires to the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings.

"It's a little like playing CSI. We'll collect evidence. We have labs where we analyze what we find. It's pretty interesting. Every day is different."

Why Augustana?
"It's a great place to go if you want a good education in an environment where you're given the opportunity to succeed."