Question: Hello, I'm an 8th grade student and I would like to become a mechanical engineer when I grow up. My English class has been assigned to research a specific topic and I chose mechanical engineering. For this project, I have been asked to conduct an interview. After taking a look at the Engineer Girl! website, I have chosen to interview you because you are currently studying mechanical engineering at John Hopkins University. After researching this field of engineering, I already know about some aspects of mechanical engineering. I know that mechanical engineers research, develop, design, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and mechanical devices. Mechanical engineering is also one of the broadest engineering fields. In addition, I believe that there are three fields of engineering, which are manufacturing, energy, and structures/motions in mechanical systems. Furthermore, I was hoping that you could answer a few of my questions.
First of all, how did you first come to learn about or get interested in mechanical engineering? Secondly, what do like most about mechanical engineering and why? Do you know what it is like being a mechanical engineer? Is it dangerous for women working in mechanical engineering? Do you know what the career of a mechanical engineer is like? For example, what are their salaries, where do they work, or what kind of hours they work. Why did you choose to get a degree in mechanical engineering out of all the other possible fields of study you could major in? Lastly, do you know any types of sources I could use to get more information about mechanical engineering?
I hope you can share some of your experiences with me. I am definitely looking forward to your response. Your help is much appreciated. I was also hoping that you could respond back to me by February 18, 2007 so my project will not be late. Thanks so much!!! -Queenie
on April 2, 2012
Hi Queenie. Mechanical engineering is a very wide field. Those you mentioned are just a few examples. My work is in robotics. I was first introduced to ME during my participation in the F.I.R.S.T. robotics competition in high school. I worked on a team of high school students, engineers, graduate students and faculty from my undergraduate school, and that was also how I was introduced to the ME department and my undergrad adviser. I like ME, especially robotics, because it is very hands-on and can offer many cool applications.
There are also different research areas in robotics such as designing new robotic devices and developing new technology that can improve the performance and safety of the robotic devices for the users. It is a pretty safe working environment. We do work with machinery, which may involve making parts in a machine shop, making circuits, etc. Just like any other jobs, we all have to be extra cautious in some situations. I don't think it is dangerous for women to work in mechanical engineering. I think if you are careless when you should not be, any job can be equally dangerous whether you are male or female. The salary range/location/hours will depend on the type of mechanical engineering one does. I can't really give you an exact answer. You might want to consult with some online sites if you want to know the number. I would suggest thatyou interview someone in person for your project. It might be a good opportunity for you to see where they work and get themore specific details you are looking for. Good luck with your project. -Nim