A man with a plan

Do you know where you will be five years from now? How about 10 years from now? Michael Bouchard does. He has a 15-year plan for personal success and has carefully outlined every step required to get him there.

“I love to plan. I love to make lists,” says Bouchard, a junior in geology and geophysics from Ballwin, Mo. “Some people shy away from the future. I run toward it with vigor.”

A self-proclaimed “band geek,” he chose Missouri S&T because he immediately fit in.

“There is a freedom here, too,” Bouchard says. “You have the chance to remake yourself exactly how you want to be, and really take control of your life and your future.”

Bouchard loves the variety of opportunities available to him at Missouri S&T. He plays trumpet in the marching band and is active in Fencing Club and National Residence Hall Honorary, among others. Last year, he played Charlie Bucket in the S&T theater production Willy Wonka. He is one class away from completing a minor in Russian.

“It’s not a matter of what can I do, but what do I have time to do!”

Bouchard works with John Hogan, associate professor of geological sciences and engineering, to research the mysteries of bizarre dome-like structures in Egypt’s Afar Desert using satellite imagery. Called “desert eyes,” these structures make the terrain look like bubble wrap, he says.

“The eyes are structural domes, but are often topographically flat,” Bouchard explains. “If you didn’t know they were there, you could walk right by them. However, when viewed from space, they create some truly incredible pictures.”

“Some people shy away from the future. I run toward it with vigor.”

Bouchard’s love of space fits into his plan in other ways, too.

Hanging on Bouchard’s wall is a 176-goal flow chart he hopes will lead the Mars Rover Design Team to success. Bouchard is CEO of the group he co-founded with 15 friends last fall. The team — the newest group to be included in the Student Design and Experiential Learning Center — is designing and building a remote-controlled vehicle capable of traversing the red, rocky terrain of Mars. The team will take part in a summer 2013 competition sponsored by The Mars Society.

Ultimately, Bouchard wants to be an astronaut. Until then, he plans to spend four years in college, five years working in the field of exploration geology and six years working on a Ph.D. in planetary geology — the study of other planets. ”

I have high goals and it will take a lot of hard work and dedication to get there,” Bouchard says. “And a plan.”

But if things don’t work out the way he plans, he’s all right with that, too. In fact, he’s on version 12 of his four-year college course plan.

“I have had to learn that while it is okay to have plans, you must still be flexible,” he says. “Plans help you have a direction, but they must be realistic, flexible and true to you.”

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