Mechanical Engineering students join inaugural class of Clark Scholars

May 31, 2017


Established through a partnership between the Clark Charitable Foundation and the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, the Clark Scholars Program forms a cohort of some of the nation’s most talented engineering students. Clark Scholars work with faculty mentors, network with professional engineers, and learn from experts in their fields as part of leadership, business, and innovation training during their undergraduate years.

This year’s inaugural class of 10 Clark Scholars included two mechanical engineering majors: Christopher Williams and Arion Morshedian.


Christopher Williams

Lots of kids dream of becoming astronauts when they grow up. Christopher Williams’ goal is a little bit different: He wants to become an astronautical engineer. “I want to design, develop, and test vehicles and equipment that astronauts use, and that operate in space,” says Williams, who is majoring in mechanical engineering with a concentration in aerospace engineering, and a minor in space science engineering.

A graduate of Boston’s private Belmont Hill School, Williams was president of the Aeronautics Club and vice-president of the Math Club, and was on the varsity football, lacrosse, wrestling, and track and field teams there. Always a strong math and science student, he decided to major in engineering in college because “it is the practical application of math and science to solving problems.”

Being offered a place in the inaugural class of Clark Scholars strongly influenced Williams to choose Johns Hopkins. Williams believes that he and the other Scholars will benefit from being part of a small cohort that represents diverse engineering disciplines.

“As a mechanical engineering major, I would normally interact mainly with other mechanical engineering majors. But through the cohort, I am getting to know and will be working with those who think about problem solving in different ways than I do,” he says. “I really think that is going to be a great benefit going forward.”


Arion Morshedian

When Arion Morshedian was deciding where to attend college, he did a little research on JHU’s engineering alumni and says he found “all these cool people who had really obscure interests that they turned into incredibly successful companies.” That was a great selling point for him.

“I got here and hit the ground running,” says Morshedian, describing his first months at Johns Hopkins. Given his desire in combine his interest in aerospace engineering with a background in business and entrepreneurship, he says the Clark Scholars program is a perfect fit.

Growing up in Walnut Creek, CA, Morshedian always knew that he would someday run his own business. In the meantime, he plans to continue enjoying his academic classes. He particularly liked the Introduction to Business class he and other Clark Scholars took  last fall, and a class in Identifying and Leading Social Change, a spring semester course in which students were charged with designing a project and marketing it.

“This is a great program because they’re leading us through the entire experience of starting a company,” he says.

Being a Clark Scholar already has provided Morshedian with unique experiences, including the chance to meet successful alumni and faculty who have shared with him their stories about their own business startups. “It’s a great opportunity,” he says, “and let’s be honest, being able to say I’m a Clark Scholar is pretty cool.”


Read more about The Clark Scholars Program in JHUEngineering Magazine

*Photo courtesy of Will Kirk/

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