Sometimes I feel like a broken record but I can't seem to quite find the words to express the pure passion & excitement I have for how a career in engineering - manufacturing in particular - changes the way you view the world - society - life. This quote did it for me.
It's a major mindset shift.
My job - specifically - is to see the bigger picture. My role as an Advanced Manufacturing Engineer is to tie the two worlds of design and production together. I'm smack in the middle of new product development - all the innovative, new, fun, cool concepts - and manufacturing - the hundreds of people and processes that are a well oiled-machine [pun intended] that continue to improve internally [robots, six-sigma, controlled systems] itself to then collide. It's a cadence. I have to be in sync with multiple groups with multiple programs with numerous projects and I have to know how to best support and understand my coworkers in their separate areas.
Yes, my job is to push for excellence. I'm sure that can be annoying and frustrating to some who just want to do their job and that be that. I'm always the idea creator. The "what if" addition-maker. I'm incredibly grateful my freshmen year at Marquette Introduction to Engineering class had us consider just that. My job isn't to always be front & center but it is to lead the implementation of change and that's where my problem solving skills truly show themselves.
I have no real authority over all the various departments I work with but I have to have some kind of influence. Together we have to push our product, processes, and personnel to the next level.
It's an honor to see final assemblies. Sometimes it's a physical tangible product and sometimes it's celebrating a success with a multi-faceted, cross-functional team.
I've been involved with Engineers Week since my college years - I served on panels, did school visits, career day events. In the end, I was simply sharing my experience as an engineering student. Why I chose engineering, what I was learning, what my plans were, the career path opportunities I had in pursuing engineering and how I making that dream a reality! Of course, there was always interest in how I even came to know Engineering which of course, I credit 150% to my mom. When I had a catalog of electives after moving out of Texas my freshmen year in High School, I was really hoping to sign up for shop - woods or auto but she advised me to take drafting. My life would change forever. [But I do plan on signing myself up for some woodwork or auto classes here in the near future]
As a professional, I continued on this effort to share and be a resource for engineering industries by sharing the different roles I had, what I did day-to-day in those different jobs, highlighted the different industries I have worked in: military defense, pressure vessel design, aerospace manufacturing, starting my own engineering consulting firm, and now working in automotive manufacturing. I even get to nerd out and share about OTHER disciplines of engineering and how they're all making an impact in our society, environments, and creating a new way of living [more on that in another post]. For the younger kids, I've seen great success in aligning the different disciplines with SUPERHEROES! Electrical = Storm, Mechanical = Iron Man, Chemical = Dexter's Lab, Nuclear = Hulk, on & on!
No words can express the excitement and "AWE COOL!" exclamations I hear when I share the cutting edge technology or even how if they go into civil engineering - they'll get play Minecraft for a living with REAL money, REAL resources, REAL land, & impact the lives of millions! Kids really just need it spelled out for them. They need to see how math and science aren't just concepts they'll "never use again". Problem-Solving is a skill set we all need as adult humans but if you sharpen up those skills, you can be front and center in a workforce with most fun, exciting, BEST paying jobs growing exponentially! They need to hear that, they need to see it, and they need to understand how they will be and ARE responsible for our future.
As I could go on for hours about the importance of how and why we need to educate our little ones about STEM education, career paths, and all the cool things they can accomplish in pursuing STEM - let's dive into the different ways you can get involved.
1. Community Centers
Most of the time they already have events happening, check out what they have going on and how you can help. Check out similar resources like the YMCA, a local Boys & Girls Club, or Girls Inc.
Since there's already a greater cause at work and usually a force of people running the structure, nonprofits tend to already have programming set in place and are simply needing volunteers to execute their programs. Some of my favorites are: SHPE, NSBE, SWE, ASCE, ASME, IEEE, Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering [TAME], Perot Museum!
3. School Visits
Career Days, Mentor during after school programs, just get in there! Representation Matters!
Normally this does require a background check, you'd have to express why you're planning on going and what you hope to achieve in attending. Google your local schools, reach out to a principle, counselor, or STEM director for school districts expressing your interest to visit!
4. Boy & Girl Scouts
Find a local council! My favorite is getting involved with Girl Scouts & their STEM initiatives! Especially locally here in Dallas, Texas with the amazing new STEM Center of Excellence. I was even honored enough to initiate and develop a partnership with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers [SHPE] DFW chapter!
For reference, here are some of my favorite Engineering activities:
Let me know how you plan on getting involved!
Have you participated in Engineers Week in previous years?
It's meant the world to me to be able to open up & share my life experiences online.
With so much chaos, the ease of overwhelment, it's a lot for one person to process.
Last week I shared a post on instagram about being intentional with filling my timeline with amazing women in Engineering. That in particular has helped with my own sense of self and as an engineer.
However, instead of my own personal gains - I want the opportunity to share.
What what I've learned. Share what other people have done. Just overall SHARE my network.
What a concept - right?!
From the wonderful, amazing, enlightened people I've had the pleasure of meeting - as MY OWN birthday present to the world - I'd like to introduce the People Engineer Network. My network is yours and we simply build a community around each other.
On the birthday, I'm launching my own YouTube series to answer many of questions I get constantly, advice I find myself repeating, and topics people tend to ask in the DMs but are ashamed or afraid to talk about in person.
In December I took on the challenge of vlogging & ended up having so much more in depth conversations in the DMs, I figured I might as well scale those back & dig into the weeds of the issues and bring those to light.
I've always felt like it was my duty to help people, that all my pain & suffering wouldn't go in vain if I could help someone through something similar.
So feel free to like, subscribe, share. Looking forward to kicking off the series this weekend!
LMK if there's anything you'd find helpful or needed or you'd like more information on pertaining to Life, Career, & Growth.