Last month during Engineering Week, we started taking a look at Engineering Explorer Posts available to our local High School Students. This week’s focus is on Explorer Post 801, hosted by the Rochester Engineering Society.
The members of the Rochester Engineering Society (RES) feel the best part of STEM is the “E”. Each year, the RES sponsors “Career Options in Engineering”, Explorer Post 801. The post is open to older high school girls and boys in the five county area around Rochester, NY. The focus is to help students find out what “Engineering is really about”.
The stereotypical engineer has thick glasses, bends over a desk all day, writes with a mechanical pencil all while avoiding eye contact with people. The purpose of Post 801 is to introduce students to real engineers, doing real work in the real world. I’ll bet there is at least one of us that matches the stereotype, but most engineers spend their day talking with other engineers, customers, trades people and consumers trying to solve real problems.
Students hear about a typical day in the life of an engineer from the engineer. Students learn about engineering education, about the perks of being an engineer and even about some of the trials an engineer might experience. This is not about slick power point presentations, but more show and tell, with a smattering of advice from the heart.
Each of our presenters tells the story of their road to engineering. Some were math whizzes in high school but a few were not! They tell the story of what college they selected and why. We always hear a few stories about special jobs they did that you would never expect an engineer to do. One has a story of cleaning up Anthrax contamination in a NYC sky scraper while another has stories of working on JFK autopsy pictures.
Each engineer tells the story of a job that pays well, offers constant challenges and continuous learning, but offers the bigger perk of personal satisfaction. At the end of the day, engineers design and build products that help people. Imagine your personal pride as you are in a car driving over the Frederick Douglass – Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge in Rochester with your family and grandchildren, knowing that your work helps tens of thousands of people make it home from work each day, every day, safely and quickly.
The post runs from January to March, meeting each Thursday night from 6:30 to 8:30. Sign up is in early October. This year we had 24 students and 12 meetings. Our students met engineers from: Chemical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Structural Engineering, Highway Engineering, Bio medical Engineering, Microelectronic Engineering, Software Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Electro-Magnetic Interference Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Imaging Science. You can see the full schedule on the RES Website.
Each week we meet at a new location so we can see and feel what it is like to be an engineer. We tour facilities like: the Gleason Works, the Microelectronics Wafer Fab Facility at RIT, the Bio-medical Engineering labs at the U of R, the Electro-Magnetic Interference and Product Safety Test Engineering labs at TUV Rheinland of North America and the Ginna Nuclear power plant.
The RES Explorers would like to express our appreciation for the generosity of our host companies, institutions and most importantly the presenters that donated their time and talents to meet with our students. Our program will start again in January 2016 and we would welcome your children. Contact Lynne Irwin at the RES firstname.lastname@example.org (585) 254-2350 or Keith Gomez Keith.Gomez@scouting.org from the Seneca Waterways Council, BSA (585) 244-4210 for more information. The cost of the program is approximately $40.
Richard Repka is a Commercialization manger at Kodak Alaris. He has a BS & MS in Electrical Engineering from RIT and Syracuse University. Richard is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of the Rochester Engineering Society (RES), where he also leads the RES Explorer Post 801.