Bo Pless balances engineering, hoops at Milligan

Published 2:32 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Staying busy seems to be second nature for Milligan College junior Bo Pless.

From the classroom to the gym, the Elizabethton native is able to keep the perfect balancing act in place between his work with the engineering department and being a member of the Milligan College men’s varsity basketball team.

Pless, who is majoring in mechanical engineering and has a minor in physics, said the passion for engineering started during his time at Elizabethton High School.

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“It really started my junior year in high school,” Pless said. “I had a physics class with a really incredible teacher. I also had really great math and science experiences all throughout high school. All of that really got me focused in the math, science and engineering field.”

Pless isn’t one to keep idle hands. After holding down the role of a student athletic in high school, he has been able to continue that in college thanks in part to a sizeable amount of support.

“It has been an incredible support system,” Pless said. “Having parents, family and friends that have been super supportive. Professors that are always willing to work with me through hard times and coaches that understand prioritize academics over athletics. Even though they want to win, all of the coaches are very accommodating in making sure they can do everything they can so that you succeed in the classroom. I’m super thankful for everyone that has been supportive of me.”

Setting the standard comes natural for the former Cyclone. Pless is currently one of the core members part of the engineering program at Milligan.

“There was a class before me that was technically engineering majors but the core classes weren’t offered until I arrived at school,” he said.

While Milligan always lingered in the back of his mind, Pless said it was his talks with faculty that got him swayed to becoming a Buffalo.

“The tipping point was meeting with Dr. (Greg) Harrell,” Pless said. “After talking with him and being able to tour the program and hear about his vision, I was immediately hooked. I heard murmurs about Milligan engineering and things about why it would be a good program. I knew it would be a great opportunity to receive a great education, too. My sister is a graduate sister here and it’s honestly right in my backyard. I knew what Milligan could offer, but after hearing how (Dr. Harrell) wanted to use engineering as a way to be a servant for others and give back, that’s when I decided this is where I wanted to be.”

Whether it’s stroking the 3-pointers during the regular season or working on a water filtration system in Hancock County, Pless said there are a variety of topics that rein in his interest.

One of the more important things he noted was being able to interact with incoming students.

“Interacting with incoming students has been a cool thing,” Pless said. “You can hear that their hearts are in the same place. There’s like 12 or 13 in my graduating class. But there’s groups coming in every year larger than ours, and they’re just ready to learn. I’m excited to see where this program will go after I leave. It’ll be exciting to look back and see what the future students will be able to accomplish and the amount of good that Milligan has been able to accomplish in the community and the world at large.”

Looking back, Pless added the experience at Milligan is something he will never forget. Ranging from work at Milligan to projects across the community, being involved with a family-based attitude makes everything worthwhile.

“The relationships you have with the professors and the people in the program are second to none,” Pless said. “It is an extremely special thing to know that my faculty advisor knows not only who I am or where I’m from, but also knows all my classmates that way. All of our faculty members are dedicated to giving you the best opportunity possible to succeed. They truly care about us as students. They don’t see you as a resource, they see you as a person and they want to do everything in their power to make sure you succeed. It shows in the way they teach and the way they talk to you out of the classroom.”