I've recently fell in love with my current position, but held 2 jobs prior to get here; however, I've always been in a position to make my own decisions. Here's the rub: In general, employers of new grads are looking for people who are creative, can think, and ideally maintain a modest and worldly attitude. They DO NOT expect you to come out of college prepared to run a job autonomously. Engineering at UB empowered me with the curiosity and work ethic to get great jobs both in and outside of field, and i do believe this in unique to an Engineering background."
What types of work have you performed? What projects have you worked on?
I've been lucky to get into laboratory sales right of school. The kinds of equipment handled has ranged from various microscopes such as laser confocal for high end profilometry to material testing equipment such as Rheometers which help characterize the flow of ALL materials! I get to bring these systems into research labs (both industry and academic) and see if I can assist with any developments or help ensure quality before product heads out the door.
I have consulted and sold to recognizable companies like NASA, DuPont, Bridgestone (tires), Sherwin Williams; and even the military! And have collaborated on projects that include stereolithography development (GE Additive), Optimizing surface quality of neck/spine implants for osseointegration, and even once helped a small "mom and pop" shop keep their largest customer by providing reliable evidence to refute a $1,000,000 quality claim.
What have been some favorite aspects of your work?
Without a doubt, no question, the best part of my job is learning something new everyday. I was fortunate enough to start as a Sales Engineer with equipment that is not industry specific. This means in the exact same day I can go from working with medical researchers at the Cleveland Clinic to understand the effectiveness of additives on blood viscosity, to helping a team of engineers as NASA design a capillary manifold on their space equipment.
Over time you are able to differentiate how different industries behave and operate which keeps me sharp in order to provide a comfortable experience for all involved. Lastly, the this job has taken me all over the country and allowed me to explore on someone else dime... out of college I am pretty sure this was my main goal and it has been incredible!
What was one of your most satisfying days as an engineer?
When I was younger I wanted to do was be a doctor... but forget it, I'm a clutz and would never have steady hands, I have the attention span of a squirrel so good luck to whoever I leave on the operating room table, and I'm afraid of hospitals... so, you know, probably wouldn't work out haha.
The reason I felt this way is because I wanted to HELP people! EAS140, and Engineering at UB in general, taught me that engineers directly and indirectly help millions of people everyday! Looking back on my career so far, whenever I felt like I helped a person or company overcome an obstacle that they had no idea how to address, these are the best days on the job.
Was it worth it? What has your engineering background made possible for you? What value has it added to your overall life?
100% worth it! Engineering is the only 4 year "professional" degree. Not only does is show the highest competencies over any other 4 year degree but it's extremely interdisciplinary. I've recently fell in love with my current position, but held 2 jobs prior to get here; however, I've always been in a position to make my own decisions.
Here's the rub: In general, employers of new grads are looking for people who are creative, can think, and ideally maintain a modest and worldly attitude. They DO NOT expect you to come out of college prepared to run a job autonomously. Engineering at UB empowered me with the curiosity and work ethic to get great jobs both in and outside of field, and i do believe this in unique to an Engineering background
What would you say to the first-year students currently sitting in your shoes?
I remember one of the first contact I added to my phone, "Erika Small Groups". Now while I misspelled her name, and we remain close friends, it is still that way when we text haha! This is just a funny example, but I absolutely remember being where YOU are! You probably don't exactly know what to expect, but you know it's "hard". Well... it will be A LOT of work, but this is an incredible journey.
I sit back now, almost 4 years removed, and look back on school as being the most fulfilling part of my life so far. The long days, balancing dozens of assignments, and feeling like you're in "the trenches" with your classmates with all soon be romanticized in your head and the payoff is great (not only monetarily!). My biggest piece of advice is Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. Everyone has something to offer and getting an experience to work as a team now is imperative. I encourage you all to culture a group your comfortable with and reach out to others who may not have a classroom network quite yet.