Faculty conversations: Patrick Walton
Patrick Walton chose to work at MSU because he “knew it would have great graduate students and undergraduate students to work with.”
Walton is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.
On his “professor side,” as he calls it, his daily tasks include working on his research, training graduate students in their research and writing grant proposals.
He likes to describe his research as bio-molecular engineering focused on nucleic acid-based biotechnology. It involves the design and development of new diagnostic and therapeutic materials, so that the billions now spent on drug development may be alleviated in the future.
However, Walton also is involved in an MSU project crucial to the success of future engineers.
The CoRe Experience integrates the first-year engineering academic program and an engineering living-learning community to support the personal and professional growth of students.
On his “CoRe” side, Walton manages a huge team of staff and students to help train about 1/7 of MSU’s students to be better engineers.
Recently, CoRe developed something called “Theme Partnerships,” in which large companies such as Bosch and Consumers Energy sponsor floors in the Wilson residence hall on campus.
Each company outfits a living room-type space with interactive monitors, white boards and smart boards in hopes of promoting innovation and creative thinking among Wilson hall’s residents.
“Engineering is a big part of MSU,” said Walton. “We like to think that what we’re doing benefits the entire university because of the number of people we serve.”