Story by Erik Potter

When Sam Donovan discovered the 3D Printing Club at Mizzou during his freshman year, he found more than a club — he found a way to make friends, to stimulate his curiosity and to further his career.

A Jefferson City, Missouri, native, Donovan came to Mizzou already excited about the school, having spent time on campus with the Missouri Scholars Academy in high school.

Donovan had always been a shy kid, but the club gave him a way to meet peers who shared similar interests, which quickly led to friendships.

The benefits of his club involvement also popped up in unexpected ways, including at an internship with a steel foundry. Donovan was called in to a meeting with the company CEO, chief financial officer and an outside vendor. The three suits had questions about how 3D printing could be used in their work, and they wanted the intern in khakis and a polo, the only 3D printing expert in the company, to explain it to them.

During his senior year Donovan served as president of the 3D Printing Club. Having the experience of leading his peers and working to help them feel welcomed and engaged changed his whole outlook on campus. “I’m not just some student going to classes,” he says. “I matter here. I really think I’m a better person for being in this club.”

Donovan graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. He is pursuing graduate school in engineering and wants 3D printing to be part of his future career.