This archived article was written by: Christopher Palo
Standing in front of his class like a modern day Plato, USU Eastern instructor, Tracy Blake molds the minds of future engineers. He tinkers and builds, playing the part of the Greek God Hephaestus, planning and organizing class instructions that will inspire and incite greatness from his students.
He received his bachelor’s degree from California State, Chico. Following graduation, Blake went straight to work at an engineering dream job working for NASA’s Ames Flight and Guidance Research Center. While there he worked on the flight and guidance simulator for the Marine Corp’s Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey jet. The only jet of its kind able to take off and land vertically, allowing for improved insertion and extraction of troops.
After working with some of the most advanced technology in the world, Blake went back to college and graduated from Arizona State University where he received his doctorate degree in electrical engineering with emphasis on semi-conductors. He worked his way through graduate school by working at a patent law firm. His job was to verify the authenticity of the proposed patents with his engineering background.
Upon graduation from ASU, Blake worked with an inventor, in an entrepreneurial capacity, investigating the uses of microwaves to distill water. “He [the inventor] was the smartest guy I’ve met…” Blake said.
Blake holds five patents, which include but are not limited to: parts of GPS, robotics and industrial robotics guided by GPS.
After his stint as a co-inventor, he decided it was time to teach. He chose the USU regional system because it provided a simpler life over the bustling metropolis of Phoenix, Ari. He began his college teaching career in Tooele, Utah, and in 2012 he made the move to USU Eastern in Price.
Teaching lower-level electrical engineering classes, he chooses projects in the areas of robotics, rocketry and circuitry over the traditional PowerPoint class lecture. He is engaging and intelligent. His personality is inviting allowing for conversations to last longer than one expects.
As a former student, I witnessed the silver-haired man teach in a manner in that promotes independent thought, as he guides you towards the correct answer. Lighting the path for future engineers, he looms over his classroom inviting conversations of all types just to expand knowledge.
After attending Chico State and ASU, both top party schools in the country at the time, Blake became no stranger to adverse conditions while in academia. He understands, more than most, the student’s struggle to balance personal and academic life. He mentors students on the correct path to chose to get the most out of their education.
For students interested in engineering, he offers an introduction to engineering class. He class is a breath course covering all manner of engineering aspects, and mentors all engineering majors.
He has taken to his teaching position at USU Eastern like a seasoned veteran. He is a credit to the institution and faculty. If you get a chance, say hi, and get to know this instructor on a personal level.