While some celebrities know from childhood that they are destined to be an actor, model, comedian, or other iconic personality, others may not begin pursuing these passions until they get older.
But what, then, are they doing in the meantime? Well, for these six famous individuals the answer is: studying engineering.
Most famously known for his breakout role as Michael Kelso on That 70’s Show, Ashton Kutcher is an actor, model, producer, and entrepreneur.
Prior to his Hollywood career, however, he attended the University of Iowa in pursuit of a degree in biochemical engineering inspired by the desire to find a cure for his twin brother’s heart condition. Though he never completed that degree, Ashton was hired by Lenovo as a product engineer in 2013 and is now considered a skilled investor in tech start-ups such as Foursquare, Skype, and Flipboard.
While it is likely no surprise that “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” has a background in, well, science, his start in the field consisted of a mechanical engineering degree from Cornell University and employment as an engineer for Boeing.
Then, after winning a Steve Martin look-alike contest, he completely transitioned his career into being a comedy writer and performer, creating his iconic character while on the Seattle-based show Almost Live!. Bill went on to produce several award-winning shows (including Bill Nye the Science Guy) and write multiple bestselling books, and today continues to inspire change in the world through research and education.
A true example of beauty and brains, supermodel Cindy Crawford graduated as valedictorian of DeKalb High School in 1984 and went on to pursue a chemical engineering degree at Northwestern University.
Finding it difficult to commit to both of her passions at once, however, she eventually decided to move to New York City and start modeling full-time. An instant success story, Cindy became one of the most iconic fashion models in the country and branched out into television appearances and product development.
A star in films such as M*A*S*H, Don’t Look Now, and The Hunger Games, Donald Sutherland has been a critically-acclaimed and award-winning actor for over half a century.
Though he was pursuing a degree in acting at Victoria College, University of Toronto, he also double-majored in engineering as a “fall-back” option. Right after graduation, however, he moved to Britain to begin studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, landed a few breakthrough roles in the UK, and eventually moved to Hollywood to fully pursue his lifelong acting career,
Before his portrayal of the beloved Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson was a student at Newcastle University and The Queen’s College, Oxford in the 1970’s and earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in electrical engineering.
It was during his time in school that he truly realized his love for acting and created his iconic character. After performing in many live shows, Rowan eventually landed his television series, leading to his success as a world-renowned actor and comedian.
Before Teri Hatcher was a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award winner, she was a student at De Anza College studying mathematics and engineering.
She later went on to become an NFL cheerleader before eventually pursuing her acting career. Teri is known most famously for her roles as Lois Lane in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Susan Mayer in Desperate Housewives.
As humans, we all have diverse sets of interests. While it is easy to put people into boxes according to their main profession, we may be able to connect with each other on different levels based on the things we spend time learning about.
To hear more stories about individuals who have achieved great success in their fields, check out our podcast, The Art of Engineering.
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