Earthquake-shattered Haiti is a world apart from grassy college campuses in Florida, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. Yet for a growing number of U.S. engineering undergraduates, the country serves as a living classroom where they can apply their knowledge and skills to help real people – half a million of whom still live under tarps or tents – recover from the worst natural disaster in modern times.
I walked into junior year engineering courses at North Carolina State University a step ahead of many of my peers thanks to the real-world experience I got as a summer intern in the specialty organics department at FMC Corp. Headquartered in Philadelphia, FMC manufactures agricultural, industrial, and specialty chemicals. The process engineering internship gave me the opportunity to work on projects in three main areas – process safety, visual management, and equipment reliability – and brought me into contact not only with process engineers but managers, operators, safety coordinators, and others. The atmosphere was welcoming and supportive. From my first day on the site my mentor, Jack Topp, encouraged me to ask questions and make suggestions.
Special Feature article by Jessica Nida
Marisa LaRouche of Denver, Colo., pictured right, who plans to study engineering, geology, and Spanish as a Boettcher Scholar at the Colorado School of Mines, joined students from six states on three-week scientific trek in Greenland. Here’s an account provided by the National Science Foundation, which coordinated the trip as part of the Joint Science Education Program: “The three-week JSEP experience was divided into two parts: the Greenlandic-led Field School–which took place in and around Kangerlussuaq, Greenland–and Science Education Week, in which students visited Danish and U.S. research stations on the Greenland Ice Sheet. The National Science Foundation coordinates the Science Education Week experience.
Within engineering, job postings outnumbered the unemployed by 1.3 to one in electronic and electrical engineering and by more than three to one in industrial, health and safety engineering, reports Change the Equation, a nonprofit that promotes education in science, technology, engineering, and math. The group based its findings on an analysis of online job postings and unemployment data.