Ask an Engineer

This is the place where you can ask those questions you still have about engineering careers.  You can read profiles of practicing engineers in the I'm An Engineer section and ask them a question directly, or you can submit a question here to have EngineerGirl staff try to find the right person to answer you.

Since other people may have already asked the question on your mind, please take time to search through the questions and answers to see what others have already said about your topic. You may also find the list of FAQs about Engineering helpful. These answers were not provided directly by engineers in the directory, but they will give you a basic understanding of what you need to know about an engineering career.

If your question is for the EngineerGirl Team please first take time to review the Resource FAQs that cover the basics of what we can provide for you from EngineerGirl.

Also, since we cannot give you actual engineering advice, if you need help designing that booster rocket for your own spacecraft or other project, you may find a resource on this list of other Engineering Q&A sites, and we encourage you to seek the services of a professional engineer for any engineering advice you may require. 

Search Questions & Answers
  • Nikki Elbanbuena asked Andromeda DuMont, CH2M / Jacobs

    Added 12 days AGO

    I’d like to know more about environmental engineering through its scope of work, skill sets, and work ethics. Thank you.
    Answers 1
    Andromeda DuMont, CH2M / Jacobs
    Answered 10 hours and 6 minutes AGO
    Hello! I am actually a water resources engineer, though I work with some environmental engineers! The most critical skills to have in any type of consulting-based engineering are technical writing, analytical, and social skills. Most of the day-to-day ...
  • Alexandra Resney asked Kim Wheeler, The Walt Disney Company

    Added 10 days AGO

    Hi Kim,

    I absolutely love the idea of engineering rides, especially the mix of computer and hands-on work! I am currently an undergrad studying Mechanical Engineering and looking at Grad Schools for Civil.

    Disney is obviously the dream - I have some questions about how you got there and how you would recommend others do so:

    1. Where did you initially apply? (The Disney Careers Website?)
    2. I know you said you were familiar with the software that Disney uses, is ...
    Answers 1
    Kim Wheeler, The Walt Disney Company
    Answered 2 days AGO
    Hi Alexandra,
    
    1. Yes I applied to Disney directly on the website. I started as an intern so I applied through the Disney careers website: https://jobs.disneycareers.com/professional-internships
    2. I had completed two previous internships with medical ...
  • Kelly asked Kristin Malosh, Vallourec USA Corporation

    Added Monday, August 6, 2018 at 7:46 PM

    I love math and have loved all of my calculus classes. I ultimately want to do something along the lines of engineering solar panels and other clean energy sources and implementing them in third world countries. I initially thought environmental was the right path but I looked into biosystems more and now I'm unsure. What are the big differences between the two as far as employment and work environment and which one would you recommend for me? Thank you so much!
    Answers 1
    Kristin Malosh, Vallourec USA Corporation
    Answered 6 days AGO
    Hi Kelly! This is a fantastic question....it takes me back to my time at MSU as I was making that same decision (although quite a few years ago I must admit).  Ultimately, I chose Biosystems over the Civil/Environmental route because I was more ...
  • Destiny Williamson asked Victoria Cummings

    Added Friday, August 24, 2018 at 7:43 AM

    Hey Victoria,

    I feel like God lead me to your page for a reason I am going into my sophomore year in college and still have not figured out exactly what i want to major in. I definitely want to be a business owner in the future and my heart is in performing arts such as dance, art, modeling, and acting but I have no possible way of putting those things into a single major. I am stuck between deciding to major in engineering or business. I’ve been seeking mentorship but I feel like I’m ...

    Answers 1
    Answered 7 days AGO
    Hey Destiny!
    
     I am so glad you found my page because you sound like a mini me. Starting at an early age my mom put me in Piano and then I continued studying piano up until my freshman year in college. (Probably should start back practicing,)  I also ...
  • Megan

    Added Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 4:38 PM

    Hi I have been in school for 3.5 years and did not decide on civil engineering until just a year ago. I decided engineering because I needed to decide and had already passed calc 1-4 and physics 1 and 2 which I've been told are the hardest classes. For me they have been the easiest. My first semester in the major I got behind and ended up dropping all of my courses. I retook 3 of the classes got an A in chem, a C in statics, and I failed my autocad course. I've always got good grades and I ...
    Answers 1
    Mavis Okyere, Ghana National Gas Company Ltd
    Answered 9 days AGO

    Hello Megan,

    Abraham Lincoln once said that “You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.”

    I think with ...

  • lynn Ly asked Tiera Fletcher (Guinn), MIT/The Boeing Co

    Added Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 7:36 AM

    After the rocket you're working on goes, what does the future hold for you? Did you always want to be an aerospace engineer?
    Answers 1
    Tiera Fletcher (Guinn), MIT/The Boeing Co
    Answered 13 days AGO
    Hi Lynn!
    
    After the rocket successfully completes its first mission (lunar mission next year), the next configurations will be focused on human travel to Mars! Which I would of course absolutely love to be apart of and the rocket program's duration can ...
  • Sian Ormiston asked Tiera Fletcher (Guinn), MIT/The Boeing Co

    Added Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 7:25 AM

    Hi Tiera, It's Sian again, I know I already asked you a question but I was wondering more! I would like to know how you got into the interest of engineering and how did you get into Boeing. Also I was wondering on an average work day what would you normally wear?
    Answers 1
    Tiera Fletcher (Guinn), MIT/The Boeing Co
    Answered 13 days AGO
    Hi Sian!
    
    I'm happy to answer any questions you have, so this great. Ask away! At a young age, my parents sparked my interest for math and by the time I was 11, I learned about engineering, particularly aerospace engineering, when Lockheed Martin brought ...
  • Melissa asked Andromeda DuMont, CH2M / Jacobs

    Added Monday, September 3, 2018 at 10:22 PM

    So I am 24 years old and I decided to go back to college about 3-ish years ago, and finally transitioned into being a full time student. I am starting calc this semester and I am having a rough time. In high school I pretty much failed all my math classes but so far I am doing well in college, (All A's) but this semester is a little more difficult for me and I'm scared I won't make it through Calc since it is all stuff I have never seen before. I work extremely hard but it takes a while for me ...
    Answers 1
    Andromeda DuMont, CH2M / Jacobs
    Answered Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 10:14 PM
    I totally understand! Even people who are "good at math" struggle with calculus the first time they see it. And understandably... limits and derivatives are so foreign to all the other types of math you've studied up until now. I struggled with Calc I ...
  • Sian Ormiston asked Tiera Fletcher (Guinn), MIT/The Boeing Co

    Added Friday, August 24, 2018 at 3:31 AM

    Hi Tiera, I am Sian and I am 12 years old. This term I am doing a school project on you and just wanted to know a little bit more about you than what the internet says.
    Answers 1
    Tiera Fletcher (Guinn), MIT/The Boeing Co
    Answered Saturday, September 1, 2018 at 5:38 AM
    Hi Sian!
    That’s so awesome that you’re doing a project about me. I am honored! 
    My childhood was full of support from my family and quite a few mentors, but also full of self-exploration and self-discovery. Although my parents exposed me to mathematics, ...
  • Matt H

    Added Monday, August 27, 2018 at 3:34 PM

    I am wanting to go to school to be an environmental engineer. I have read many places that if you do civil engineering then you can always do environmental stuff but its not the other way around if you choose environmental engineering. I strictly want to be on the environmental side and i do not have much aspiration to do anything structural or related to the civil side. But others say civil is the better option because it opens up more doors. So my question is this, is getting just an ...
    Answers 1
    Jennifer Oltman, Mainstay Engineering Group
    Answered Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 2:39 PM
    This is an excellent question, if you want to be a environmental engineer, than major in environmental engineering. However, Be clear on the difference between civil and environmental. I have an environmental engineering degree and I practice ...
  • Cary asked Kim Wheeler, The Walt Disney Company

    Added Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at 10:09 AM

    Walt Disney World has always held a special place in my heart and inspired me to pursue engineering, something I never thought I could do. Now I am going into my senior year as a civil engineering student. I have been struggling to get my GPA up from a 2.975 to a 3.0 for about two years now so that I could apply for Disney internships. Now I am considering the college program as well as I am feeling discouraged about being able to gain that last 0.034 points on my GPA. I am a member of the ...

    Answers 1
    Kim Wheeler, The Walt Disney Company
    Answered Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 5:10 PM
    Hey Cary, first of all, please do not be discouraged! Engineering coursework is HARD no matter who you are and to me GPA isn't always the best indicator of who's the right candidate for the job. Having said that, unfortunately that is one of the ...
  • Sarina asked Tricia Berry, The University of Texas at Austin

    Added Tuesday, August 14, 2018 at 9:34 PM

    I'm currently starting my freshman year in Chemical Engineering, Biomedical/Biochemical. Since moving in I've noticed an extremely gender-biased atmosphere. Looking at statistcs I've learned that since 1980 when the percentage of women in engineering was only five percent to today where the number of women in engineering is only fourteen percent. I just want your personal advice for making it through a B.S. in chemical engineering to potentially a Doctorate later and what made you want to ...

    Answers 1
    Tricia Berry, The University of Texas at Austin
    Answered Saturday, August 18, 2018 at 3:12 PM
    How exciting to be starting your college career in such an amazing field! Chemical engineering is such a fabulous degree that can lead to careers in so many different fields from pharmaceuticals, to chemicals, to food and packaging, to personal care ...
  • Jeremiah Marcos

    Added Saturday, August 11, 2018 at 3:46 AM

    I have a general idea of what a civil engineer does. Before you majored in civil engineering, did you know a lot about what they do?
    Answers 1
    Kara Kockelman, University of Texas at Austin
    Answered Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at 12:35 PM
    Fabulous question! Honestly, I had almost no idea what civil engineers do when I was in high school. I simply found math and physics not as ambiguous, open-ended and subjective (and thus difficult, for me) as writing essays, and not as memory-intensive ...
  • Rachel Foy asked Jamie Steinberger, DENSO International America, Inc.

    Added Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 4:37 PM

    I am an upcoming sophomore in college currently pursuing a mechanical engineering degree. I am starting to think that industrial engineering may fit my interests more, though. Unfortunately, the college I attend does not have an industrial engineering degree. I am contemplating transferring, but I am reluctant to leave the school I love. Is it possible to work in an industrial engineering position as a mechanical engineer? Or should I try to transfer or get my Masters in industrial engineering ...
    Answers 1
    Jamie Steinberger, DENSO International America, Inc.
    Answered Monday, August 13, 2018 at 4:11 PM
    Hi Rachel,
    
    Great question! I, myself, have an ME degree, also from a university that doesn’t explicitly have an IE major. I think you have tons of options and bottom line: you do not need to transfer. 
    
    The amazing thing about an ME degree is the ...
  • Ashley Stubbe, University of Wisconsin - Madison
    Answered Thursday, August 9, 2018 at 4:56 PM
    Hi Allison,
    
    It really depends on the program and school you choose. Some will have hard requirements on acceptable undergraduate degrees in order to be admitted, however, others will be a little more flexible. I recommend you check around on the ...
  • Destiny

    Added Monday, August 6, 2018 at 11:19 AM

    I’m planning to start school to become a chemical engineer. I’m 21 with a 2 year old son. I’m worried I won’t be able to be there for him. I’m also worried that I’ll be constantly intimidated with working with men. Is it a lot of heavy lifting? What is the work like? How are internships? Every day I self doubt myself and consider changing my major but at the end of the day I end up looking up chemical engineering. I guess I’m just nervous or scared that I won’t be good enough or that I won’t be ...
    Answers 1
    Tricia Berry, The University of Texas at Austin
    Answered Thursday, August 9, 2018 at 8:31 AM
    Chemical engineering is an extremely broad field where you can impact our world, create products and process that improve lives, and work in just about any industry out there. You’ll learn how to problem solve and how to figure things out in engineering ...
  • Carly

    Added Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 11:59 AM

    I’m pretty good at math now but I’m only in 8th grade. I really like the idea of being an environmental engineer, but I’m worried I’ll struggle with the advanced math classes...are some schools easier than others? Or do all of them require a lot of math and I’ll just have to deal with it. Would environmental studies be easier?
    Answers 1
    Stacy Clark, Center for NYC Neighborhoods
    Answered Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 4:36 PM
    Hi Carly! It's great that you're thinking about this already! I'm going to tackle your question in three parts:
    
    (1) "Are some schools easier than others?"  -  Yes - some universities are harder than others, and some professors within a university are ...
  • AG NaR

    Added Thursday, July 19, 2018 at 9:03 AM

    I am in my third year majoring in electrical engineering. The courses are challenging and I like this, I have a high GPA, and I am the first on the honor list.

    But when it comes to life after graduating, I feel I am not good enough. I don't think I know much to take responsibilities as an engineer, I feel the practical part might be too much for me. All of this is stressing me out, forcing me to hate university for not training us enough and with its obsolete facilities.

    it ...

    Answers 1
    Adriana Garcia, AG Consultink
    Answered Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 11:55 AM

    Appreciated Ag Nar. I understand your concern, which is genuine. First of all, you can understand that all of us who have graduated have a situation similar to yours, there will always be a technological gap between the university and professional life. ...

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