Alum is setting big goals and achieving them

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Alum’s academic and professional journey goes from Pontiac through West Lafayette to Waterloo.

Luke Moriguchi, a 2012 graduate of Notre Dame Prep, paid a visit a few months ago to his alma mater, and among those he spent some time with was Vlado Salic, who directs the upper division’s counseling department.

“Luke came to see us to share what he’s been up to before his afternoon flight out to Iowa to get to his new apartment and job,” Salic said. “It’s always very nice and a highly appreciated gesture when an alum visits, but this one really felt special because he also has a great story about his educational journey and his family, which includes his sister, Francine, who graduated from Notre Dame in 2014.

Moriguchi was heading to Iowa because he soon will begin his new job as a quality engineer at John Deere’s Product Engineering Center, located in Waterloo.

“I will be working with John Deere Power Systems, and that facility engineers and builds all powertrain applications for the company,” Moriguchi said in an interview with IRISH magazine. “My first rotation will focus on quality planning of supplier parts within new engine programs.”

Moriguchi’s journey to Iowa follows a very successful stint at Purdue University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. 

Among the many extra activities during his years at Purdue, which included serving on the Purdue Marching Band’s drumline, Moriguchi joined the Institute of Healthcare Improvement Purdue Chapter, a relatively new club at Purdue with countless chapters internationally. 

“I took the opportunity to get involved in this club and served as the secretary and webmaster on the executive board and had the opportunity to work with some incredible students in the nursing program at Purdue,” he said. “Having the opportunity to work with people from other majors was valuable in gaining different perspectives in my own studies.” 

Last semester, Moriguchi said his senior design team project was voted the best project of the senior class by peers, staff, and professional organizations. “We were able to minimize production space by 30% and improve productivity by 60%, a number that greatly surpassed the client's request. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be the project manager, which provided much experience in leadership, decision-making and working with a client.”

Such academic success in college didn’t just come out of nowhere for Moriguchi. He said his time spent at Notre Dame was a real catalyst for him.

"Through academics and extracurricular activities at Notre Dame, I learned countless life skills that would later be reinforced throughout college and my intern experiences,” he said. “First and most importantly, NDP taught me to set high goals for myself as well as critical time-management skills. I was involved in two varsity teams at Notre Dame (hockey and tennis), band (marching/concert/jazz), and theater (sound crew) through my years at NDP.”

By the end of his high school career, Moriguchi was leading most of those activities to some extent. And despite the countless hours spent at these extracurriculars, he maintained a high GPA and achieved consistently excellent standardized test scores. 

“Without the discipline and time-management skills I learned in high school, finding success in these areas going forward would not have been possible,” he said. “When I went on to become a student leader in the Purdue band’s drumline, which demanded a lot of time as well, I was able to maintain my grades, and I directly attribute to the time-management skills gained at NDP. The things I learned from leading, teaching, and working with peers at Notre Dame prepared me for the leadership experiences I had at Purdue as well.” 

Moriguchi also noted that NDP prepared him for the intensity needed to be successful in the university classroom. 

“Learning to study smarter and not harder allowed me to maintain a balance between school, activities and social life,” he said. “This balance helped lead to success in the classroom, an expanded social network, and other new opportunities.” 

Moriguchi’s visit to NDP last week wasn’t his first since he graduated in 2012. He said he always loves to catch up with Notre Dame teachers.

“Whenever I visit the school, I make it a point to visit my former teachers, including Mr. Riley, Mr. Martin, Ms. Glick, Ms. Phillips, and Ms. Pauwels,” he said. “I have been fortunate to have several opportunities to stop and speak with these amazing teachers since my graduation and I hope to have more opportunities to visit, despite working in Iowa. Besides the teaching staff, I would be remiss not to mention Mr. Vlado Salic, who was my counselor until I graduated. He helped me through the entire college application process. He provided the confidence and support I needed to prepare and submit my college applications and has continued to support me. I am proud to consider him a friend.” 

Now embarking on a major new phase in his life, Moriguchi is very excited to begin his new job at John Deere. But he’s also focused on the longer road ahead on his journey. 

“I look forward to starting my career as a quality engineer for John Deere, but, as many others, I hope to eventually transition to more managerial roles and have the opportunity to lead and influence larger groups of people,” he said. “I have learned that work experience in quality, manufacturing and operations in industry will develop a solid foundation for me to make this transition and cultivate success in a position of leadership. 

“Besides the work experience, I also hope to soon get my MBA to further enhance my repertoire and to continue to positively contribute at John Deere. For the next couple of years, I look forward to working very hard to learn more, contribute and innovate!”

Find out through the "Scholars Way" how to make an impact on students who are just like Moriguchi was when he was a student at Notre Dame.

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy

Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." The Marist Fathers and Brothers sponsor NDPMA's Catholic identity and manages its educational program. Notre Dame is accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools, the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org.

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