How do you know you want to be an engineer?

Posted by Meghan Hayes on Feb 17, 2020 7:30:00 AM

The celebration of National Engineers Week started in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers and is always during the week in February which includes George Washington’s birthday, February 22nd. President Washington is considered the nation’s first engineer, notably for his survey work. It is observed by more than 70 engineering, education, and cultural societies, and more than 50 corporations and government agencies. Primarily, the goal of this week promote recognition among parents, teachers, and students of the importance of a technical education and a high level of math, science, and technology literacy. The intent is to motivate youth to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce

So, how do you know if you want to be an engineer? I asked some of the engineers here at Optimation.

Bill and his wife, CarolynBill Pollock, President and CEO of Optimation Technology

How did you know you wanted to be an engineer?

When I was in junior high my English teacher told me, I had no mastery of the English language of little chance of gaining one.  My math teach was nice to me.  I went in the direction that felt good and ended up becoming an engineer. 

What is your advice for those thinking about pursuing a career in engineering?

There is an increased emphasis for STEM education at all levels in our school systems.  Even elementary students are now exposed to the uses of science and engineering that they didn’t get to see in the past.  Students should take advantage of opportunities such as FIRST Lego and Robotics competitions and other technical clubs.  These can create a foundation for a future career in technology.  The interest, motivation and drive to become an engineer typically starts at a young age. 

IMG_7650Dave Hudak, Mechanical Engineer/Construction Manager at Optimation Technology

How did you know you wanted to be an engineer?

I have always enjoyed problem solving, taking things apart, and seeing how they worked. Technology classes in middle school was the starting point for wanting to be an engineer.

What do you love most about engineering?

The variety of projects and challenges that come up. There is always something new/different that needs to be figured out.

What was your favorite project/challenge?

Couldn’t possibly choose one project – all of them have had good opportunities to learn and try new things.

What is your advice for those thinking about pursuing a career in engineering?

If you enjoy problem solving and working on a large variety of interesting projects.

 

Wendy Smith, Chief Operating Officer at Optimation Technology and 2019 Influential Women in Manufacturing honoreeWendy Smith

How did you know you wanted to be an engineer?

I didn’t really know what I wanted to be, but I knew that I was good at Math and Science and I was very “hands-on” and mechanically inclined.  My father met someone whose son was graduating from Alfred University as a Ceramic Engineer and everyone from his class had a job well before graduation.  My father “suggested” I look into that major.  I had never heard of Ceramic engineering and neither had most of my classmates, but I started looking into it. My Chemistry teacher had a brochure about a summer institute at Alfred University where you stay on campus for a week in the summer and explore different engineering curriculum's.  I went, and by the time I left I had found my major and my college!  I applied for early decision in Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University!   Today there are many of these types of immersion events for students.  With the focus on STEM these can start in Junior High or even before.  Many scouting organizations have explorer type programs, professional societies have events, some companies send their employees schools to do science demonstrations, and colleges host a multitude of events to try and encourage students to enter the STEM fields (including engineering).  Take advantage of these and see if you can discover a type of engineering that interests you.

What do you love most about engineering?

I love solving problems, and I love a challenge. 

What was your favorite project/challenge?

At Optimation we solve problems for our customers.  A customer will come to us with a problem or they need to develop or automate a “process” to make or do something.  Our Engineers help them figure out how to do that.  It is so satisfying to see the project move from an idea into reality! 

What is your advice for those thinking about pursuing a career in engineering?

Absolutely do it!  It is very rewarding.  There are many different disciplines or types of engineers, and many different roles within engineering.  The world, and especially the United States needs more people go to into engineering!  Figure out what you are passionate about and then research it.  There is probably an engineering field that touches your passion.  Whether it is animals, the environment, the human body, the ocean, aerospace, automobiles, chemistry, roads and bridges, computers, software, electricity, people, materials (especially glass and ceramics), the list goes on and on.  There is probably an engineering program offered at several different colleges or universities that fits your interests.

Howard PattonHoward Patton, Staff Engineer at Optimation Technology for the last 50 years

How did you know you wanted to be an engineer?

As simple as I always knew I wanted to be an engineer!

Topics: About Optimation, Manufacturing, Education, Engineering Services

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