Get to know . . . Mark Holdhusen, associate professor of engineering

November 10, 2014

Mark Holdhusen instructing at blackboard.Where did you grow up? Tell us about your educational background.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You know, that place you slept on the way to the Black Hills. After completing high school in Sioux Falls, I went to the University of Minnesota – Morris to major in physics and minor in music. After realizing the precision of physics was not for me, I transferred to the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota to study mechanical engineering. I then went to Georgia Tech in Atlanta for my master’s and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. My area of study and research at Georgia Tech was in vibrations and acoustics.

Why did you decide to teach, and how did you develop an interest in engineering?

I was always good at math, but never saw the point of it until I took high school physics.  I moved away from physics because engineering fit my personality better.  While at the U of M, I had several professors who had little interest in my success as an undergraduate student.  I got my Ph.D. and pursued teaching out of disdain for my undergraduate professors.

Did you have a favorite or an interesting job as a teen?               

My only job as a teen was at an arcade/pizzeria as a cook. Thanks to half-price tokens, I was able to master the pinball game “Cyclone”.

What is something you learned from your parents that you carry with you today?

Education is the key that unlocks the future.

Do you have a favorite TV show?

I finished watching “Breaking Bad” last spring. Any show that has me rooting for a murderous drug dealer has done something right.

Outside of work, what do you do to relax?

Four things help keep me balanced: being with my family, traveling (with my family), running (with my family), and beer (both brewing (by myself) and drinking (with my family)). (Do you remember your order of operations in math?)

What’s been the secret to your success?

Persistence and humility.

Mark Holdhusen in class with student.

What do you like best about UWMC?

I could wax poetic on this for a long time, but I will follow the advice I give students on technical writing and be concise and say the people.

What advice do you share with new students?

Everyone here truly wants you to succeed. Do not be afraid, intimidated, or embarrassed to ask for help.