Michael Maker is making it happen.

The second-​​year grad­uate stu­dent at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, who is studying elec­trical and com­puter engi­neering lead­er­ship, says his will­ing­ness to “jump into the deep end of the pool”—to learn and take on lead­er­ship responsibilities—is paying dividends.

He’s now working for a com­pany in Bonn, Ger­many, as a project man­ager for pre­clin­ical trials of a promising vision-​​perception device.

It’s great work for anyone, much less a grad­uate stu­dent, and he credits his suc­cess to the Gordon Engi­neering Lead­er­ship Pro­gram, which pro­vides an inno­v­a­tive model for training engi­neering leaders through the Col­lege of Engineering.

Maker is a fellow of the one-​​year grad­uate pro­gram aimed at building a future corps of engi­neering lead­er­ship pro­fes­sionals through immer­sive learning. The pro­gram also seeks to develop in its fel­lows sev­eral intan­gible assets, such as out­standing char­acter, self-​​esteem, and focused ambition.

Working for Intel­li­gent Med­ical Implants, Maker over­sees the pre­clin­ical trials in the United States of a promising device to treat retinal disease.

A “point person” working mostly out of Boston, and occa­sion­ally from the Bonn head­quar­ters, Maker is helping oversee testing of the device, which helps stim­u­late the retina and improve the pro­cessing of visual input for people with retinal disease.

This fel­low­ship put me in the deep end of the pool from day one,” Maker says. “I’m a project man­ager. It’s a trial by fire, but it’s the best expe­ri­ence I’ve ever had.”

It’s an expe­ri­ence with benefits.

Not only is the com­pany paying Maker for his work, it is also cov­ering his North­eastern graduate-​​school tuition. Later, after his thesis on the project is com­plete, and he grad­u­ates in May, Maker has high hopes of returning to work for the com­pany full time.

Maker is from a family of engi­neers. His father and sister are both in the field. But, his expo­sure to the industry has helped him build lead­er­ship skills and other assets to equip him to climb the ladder of suc­cess, he says.

The Gordon Pro­gram really enables me to define myself as a person who is climbing the ladder, and willing to take on all chal­lenges to become a leader,” Maker says. “I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.”