CLAS Dean's Medalist brings language skills to engineering


Gabriel Sandler

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2017 commencement. See more graduates here.

Recent Arizona State University graduate Daniel Mangu, a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medalist, is going into the world showing that language and culture skills are an incredible advantage in any field.

Mangu studies Russian language and mechanical engineering. He’s confident that he’ll be able to leverage his language skills to further his career.

“To use Russian in context with engineering, I know there are companies with offices located in Moscow and St. Petersburg,” Mangu said. “So I’d like to find a way I can work with those companies, whether it be as an engineering liaison or to work directly with engineering teams.”

Coming to ASU, Mangu decided on engineering because he excelled in math and sciences. Russian came up when he was a freshman catching up with a high school friend. It started as a way to knock out credits, but became a passion.

“I really liked the language itself, it’s really cool, and the whole Russian culture,” Mangu said. “The Russian Orthodox Church is absolutely beautiful...the difference in Russian culture and American culture,” and of course, Russian food and music.

Mangu got involved at the School of International Letters and Cultures, representing the Russian department at Night of the Open Door, Russia Night and other events recruiting incoming students.

He managed to balance his passion for Russian while working an internship at a Goodyear engineering firm, which turned into a part-time job where he will continue after graduation as a regular employee.

Mangu explained that pairing language skills with another field opens roads he can go down professionally. He cited his qualifications to translate sophisticated engineering documents as an example.

“People look at [combining Russian and engineering], and they see an unusual combination, they see Russian as valuable because it’s not something that everyone knows,” Mangu said. “Especially with it being such a critical language, it’s a really strong selling point.”

“Studying just a language by itself is definitely rewarding, just to have that knowledge," Mangu added. "But studying something else alongside it gives you context that you can specialize in.”

Mangu sees receiving the CLAS Dean’s Medal as a token of achievement, a validation of his time and perseverance at ASU.

“This is a great program, I’ve learned a lot,” Mangu said. “And I’ve made some great connections that are going to last… I got to meet and understand new people.”