The biggest thing you gain from this course is a specific way of thinking and approaching problems, and this will pop up time and time again in later courses (and also your career). Combining this way of thinking with a good work ethic is how you succeed in engineering. There are no shortcuts."
What types of work have you performed? What projects have you worked on?
Pedestrian bridges, steel design (buildings, connections, industrial fall protection), concrete design (building foundations, anchoring into concrete).
What have been some favorite aspects of your work?
I've loved being able to solve interesting problems every day. Each day at work is different, so it's exciting coming in everyday and seeing where the day takes you. I've also enjoyed being able to work on projects that affect people's lives in a positive way. It's awesome when you are traveling or walking around the community to see projects you've worked on and see people enjoying the final product.
What was one of your most satisfying days as an engineer?
The most satisfying day I've had thus far is getting to see something that I had a hand in designing actually built. Being able to see the final product of all your work in place with people using it is very gratifying. It's also incredibly humbling (although obvious in theory) to realize that people will build exactly what you tell them to build so it's really important that you get it right.
Was it worth it? What has your engineering background made possible for you? What value has it added to your overall life?
While I'm still relatively new to the engineering field, I think it has been worth it for me. Engineering not only has given me a very safe career path (in terms of job security, competitive wages, etc.) doing very satisfying work, but I think it also has made me a more intelligent person.
It has afforded me the ability to think on my feet, approach problems the right way, and a background knowledge in (more or less) how the world works. However, none of those skills came without struggle, so I would say if you are interested (and I was) and can justify the struggle along the way, you'll come out better and more intelligent on the other side.
What would you say to the first-year students currently sitting in your shoes?
I remember sitting in your seat in EAS 140 thinking that while all the things we were learning and the problem solving methods we were experimenting with were really interesting, I had a long way to go (in terms of academic preparation) to catch up with everyone else.
However, few people tell you that while academic preparation prior to freshman year of college will give you a head start, it will in no way replace the massive amount of hard work required to succeed. What matters the most is how you use the hand you were given, combined with the very basic skills you learn in EAS 140, to propel yourself forward.
The biggest thing you gain from this course is a specific way of thinking and approaching problems, and this will pop up time and time again in later courses (and also your career). Combining this way of thinking with a good work ethic is how you succeed in engineering. There are no shortcuts.