Up Close With MICHAEL SHOOK (MICH. '14)
Michael Shook was 14 and already working at Country Club of Detroit as a lifeguard when someone suggested he also caddie at the club.
He would make good money while doing something physically exerting outside, a requirement for the accomplished high school swimmer.
Michael had no way of knowing then that three summers spent lugging golf bags would the Grosse Pointe, Mich. native realize his dream of attending the University of Michigan and becoming an engineer.
But that is precisely what happened when Michael applied for and received an Evans Scholarship to Michigan in 2010, a moment that was not quite as climactic as he might have envisioned.
“I came home from swim practice and saw a giant envelope on my dresser from the WGA – and it was already opened,” Michael said. “I ran downstairs to the kitchen, where my mom had been since I came in, and I just held it up to her. She quietly muttered, ‘I’m sorry.’ She kind of stole my thunder by opening it first but I was still elated.”
Michael overcame his less-than-dramatic entrance in the Program to become president of the Michigan Evans Scholars Chapter while maintaining a 3.9 GPA in the university’s notoriously rigorous chemical engineering program.
He spent last summer interning for Shell Oil in New Orleans, La., and has since been offered a position with the company upon his graduation from Michigan later this year.
Michael said he owes much of his success to lessons learned as a caddy and an Evans Scholar at Michigan.
“From day one, I decided to separate my work and personal life,” Michael said. “The ES Creed said it first: Set aside pleasurable activities until the necessary ones are accomplished. It’s also tough to understate the value of choosing to study something you’re passionate about. My major is nothing if not challenging but I’m happy to be able to see the world through a different and ever-changing window.”
With the beginning of his professional life looming, Michael said he is unlikely to forget the people, experiences and the Program that helped him develop as a student and as a person.
“I definitely plan on staying involved with (Evans Scholars) after Michigan,” he said. “The idea of ‘paying it forward’ really resonates with me, and whether I choose to do so through donations or volunteering or both, it’s hard not to feel compelled to do something for the organization that gave me so much.”
Did you know?
IT'S A MICHIGAN THING
Two of Michael Shook’s four sisters also attended the University of Michigan. The other two are Michigan State alums.
A PUBLISHED AUTHOR
Michael was named co-author of a published research paper following an internship at the University of Connecticut. The paper examined the kinetics of diesel soot oxidation and correlating these results with both the soot’s physical characteristics and the composition of the exhaust gas used in the combustion.
... BUT NOT CUT OUT FOR ACADEMIA
His experience at the University of Connecticut helped him realize what he didn’t want to do for a living. Of academia, Michael said, “It was a whole lot of pencil-pushing. The experience firmly reassured me that I do not plan on getting a Ph.D.”