Student says online program "most rewarding and challenging experience"

By Karen Hunley

Published: Mar 3, 2021 8:57:00 AM

Greg Steiger Greg Steiger

Greg Steiger, M.S. in Materials Engineering online student

Q: When did you start and when do you expect to finish the program?
A: I started my journey in January 2018 and will finish in May 2022.

Q: Where did you earn your bachelor’s degree and what is it in?  
A: I earned my B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois-Chicago in December 1984.

Q: What have you been up to since then?
A: I started my career as a formulating chemist in the metalworking lubricant market. From there I became a tech service representative, a lab group leader, product manager, marketing director and the owner of a marketing agency.  I currently am a market segment manager and senior account manager for a global supplier of automotive and industrial lubricants.  Along the way I also earned my MBA, made several industry presentations to industry trade groups and published several peer-reviewed technical papers.

Q: What made you decide to join this graduate online program?   
A: I applied to the Auburn program because I was traveling throughout North America three or four nights a week for business and wanted to do something productive for me and my company while I was sitting in hotel rooms at night.  In looking at the online programs available at the time, Auburn had the best engineering program for someone interested in metals.

Q: What has been your personal experience so far with the 100 percent online format?  
A: It has been the most rewarding and challenging experience I have ever had.  As a full-time professional and a part-time student, the professors all understand there will occasionally be work and family conflicts.  All the professors have been very accommodating when these conflicts arise.   Also, the professors have been very kind in allowing me to call them outside of normal office hours to discuss class subject matter whenever I have had questions.  It is also the first time I have been older than all of the students and professors. 

Q: Would you have gone back for your master’s if not for the fully online format?  
A: With my travel schedule pre-pandemic and subsequent travel schedule once the pandemic is over, I would not have been able to do so.  Also because I live in South Carolina, I would not have been able to conveniently attend classes at Auburn.

Q: How do you expect this graduate degree to enhance your professional life?  
A: In my current position the customers I call on are all heat treaters.  These heat treaters are typically materials, mechanical, or chemical engineers.  By pursuing my master’s in materials engineering I am better able to communicate with my customers.

Q: What would you tell someone who was thinking about applying for an Auburn Engineering Online program? 
A: First of all, because I will be graduating when many of my peers and friends will have retired, I would tell people don’t let age hold you back.  Secondly, I would let people know that distance is not a factor.  All of the lectures are online and can be accessed from anywhere in the world at your convenience.  I would also let people know that Auburn made a decision to accept me based on more than just my undergraduate GPA.  Auburn took into account what I have accomplished since I graduated as well as my body of work as an undergraduate.  Lastly, I am having fun learning and would encourage anyone who has a desire to continue learning to reach out and apply to the online program.

Media Contact: Karen Hunley,, 334.844.2224

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