Ask an Engineer

Here you can ask those questions you still have about engineering careers.  Read profiles of practicing engineers in the I'm An Engineer section and ask someone a question directly, or submit a question here to have EngineerGirl staff try to find the right person to answer you.

Keep in mind 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 services you may require. 

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  • Dylon asked Seetha Raghavan, University of Central Florida

    Added Friday, November 16, 2018 at 11:06 AM

    I am trying to show students how interesting Aerospace Engineering is.
    Answers 1
    Seetha Raghavan, University of Central Florida
    Answered 2 hours and 34 minutes AGO

    Great question Dylon!

    When I was in elementary school, I found myself intrigued just watching airplanes take off and land. I lived close to an airport and went there every weekend just to watch - those were awesome days... I was curious about what made ...

  • CBliss asked Marnie Smith, LivaNova

    Added 8 days AGO

    The BA is in nothing related to engineering and I am only 3 years out of college and have already excelled in my field, but am bored out of my skull. I work at a job counseling people and then I come home and tinker and build things out of whatever I have lying around the house. I want a job that would let me design, build, and invent things for solutions to public health issues, but I am so paralyzed with fear that I have already ruined my life with that horrible decision to get a BA instead ...
    Answers 1
    Marnie Smith, LivaNova
    Answered 2 days AGO
    You are not a lost cause!
    
    First, I want to say that I'm sorry that you were given such poor feedback and support that ultimately discouraged you from pursuing Engineering. This day and age, that is really unfair! Your journey does not have to end here. ...
  • Anastasie asked Susan Su, US Patent and Trademark Office

    Added Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 1:38 AM

    My PhD is in organic chemistry. I went to school in Germany. I graduated almost 8 years ago. Thanks in advance, Anna
    Answers 1
    Susan Su, US Patent and Trademark Office
    Answered 4 days AGO

    Hi Anna,

    First sign up for alerts from USAJOBS.gov so that you’ll be notified when the USPTO hires patent examiners again. The job postings will indicate in which area they want to hire, e.g. mechanical, chemistry, design… I assume you have citizenship, ...

  • Louise Seftel

    Added Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 7:37 AM

    I am interested in pursuing a four year civil engineering program and would like to start at a community college and transfer to a four year college.
    Answers 1
    Kristin Sweeney, Pennsy Supply Inc., An Oldcastle Company
    Answered 6 days AGO
    Hello Louise!
    This is a great question. I would say the answer is two pronged. DO you have an idea which four year college you'd like to go to? if so I would reach out to their Civil Department and see what classes students are required to take in the ...
  • Amy Betz, Kansas State University
    Answered 8 days AGO
    Sorry for the late reply. I think you should do whatever works best for you. Mechanical Engineering is a very broad field with lots of opportunities. I think it is important to remember that your degree doesn’t define you and you can still branch out to ...
  • Stephanie Valenzeula asked Amy Betz, Kansas State University

    Added Friday, November 10, 2017 at 9:43 AM

    Answers 1
    Amy Betz, Kansas State University
    Answered 8 days AGO
    I did not know I wanted to be a Mechanical Engineering right away. In high school I thought I wanted to study science and arts. When I had my first college interview, I learned that engineering would be a great way to combine my creative and scientific ...
  • Amy Betz, Kansas State University
    Answered 8 days AGO
    I did not learn about Mechanical Engineering until I was applying to college. Even then I was not sure what engineering was or how it was different from study science.
    
    Today, there are many more resources for learning about engineering or getting the ...
  • Era Kurtaliaj

    Added Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 4:57 PM

    I am on a financial aid which to my knowledge lasts only 4 years. I have one semester left but I do not want to do mechanical engineering jobs. I would like to get involved in more electrical engineering positions such as automation, controls, robotics. I am trying to figure out ways to leverage my degree but also obtain new skills that are more focused on the aforementioned areas. Is this possible? Do you have any suggestions?
    Answers 1
    Jill S. Tietjen, Technically Speaking, Inc.
    Answered 10 days AGO
    My first recommendation is that you finish your mechanical engineering degree. Look for a job with a company that hires mechanical engineers as well as electrical engineers in areas such as automotive and aerospace (there are many others as well). Also ...
  • Jessica

    Added Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 5:14 PM

    I'm in the high 70s/low 80s right now and it's not like I don't understand the content, it's just that my teacher's tests are very different from what we do in class. Should I still consider applying to any engineering programs if I am not strong in physics? I don't want to go into a program where I'll struggle and be in the bottom of my class for four years. Thanks!
    Answers 1
    Charlotte Champigny, Nevatronix, LLC
    Answered 11 days AGO
    Hi Jessica!
    
    I consider myself an average student and definitely not great in physics but I have a strong interest in problem-solving, hands-on mechanical projects, and math in general. These qualities make a good engineer. So in my opinion, you should ...
  • Katelyn Lichte, DuPont Pioneer
    Answered 12 days AGO
    Hi Albert,
    
    This question hits close to home for me.  My parents weren't able to help me with my education finances either.  
    
    The best thing you can do right now is to start applying for every grant, scholarship, etc that's available.  Some of these ...
  • Added Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 9:47 AM

    I do really well in school, but people get mad at me if I say anything about it. I don’t want to make people feel bad, but I’m also proud of my work. Have you ever faced this? If so, what did you do about it?
    Answers 9
    Jodie Lutkenhaus, Texas A&M University
    Answered 13 days AGO
    I sure have, especially when I was in high school. However, I was reminded that high school was only temporary. I tried to keep my head down, do my work, and get through it. Once at college, I was able to specialize in chemical engineering, where ...
    Mekka Williams, NetApp
    Answered 13 days AGO

    Unfortunately yes. This problem never goes away and can happen right in your own family. Here is my advice:

    • Stop hiding your intelligence immediately. You don’t have to play dumb. Sometimes you can just refrain from engaging directly in those ...
    Priscilla Bennett, Spire / Laclede Gas Company
    Answered 13 days AGO
    No, I have never felt the need to hide my intelligence to fit in. I can understand that you may feel this may be the only way to fit into a certain crowd and my suggestion would be to find those friends who like you for you. Instead of pretending to be ...
  • Kaye

    Added Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 5:48 AM

    Hello, I am applying to college this month and was pretty set on majoring in biomedical engineering. I want to pursue tissue engineering or something related to that. However, I came across an old thread that said there it is hard for BME majors to find jobs outside or college and BME is usually designed for students who will go to med school. They said Mechanical was better because it was more broad and more companies were more willing to hire an ME than a BME. Is that still true? The ...
    Answers 1
    Christine Schmidt, University of Florida
    Answered 13 days AGO
    Either option is a good option! There are definitely many jobs for BME graduates right after they receive their bachelors degree - many of our students go straight into industry. The numbers getting jobs directly with ME degrees may be higher, but then a ...
  • Camila Cando

    Added Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 4:02 PM

    I just got rejected by an internship position I applied for and it was totally demoralizIng. My anxiety has taken me into this whirlwind of self doubt, and am afraid I will never get a job at all. Which I know is obviously not true, I’ll get there eventually! But I was curious as to how to better prepare for interviews and how to calm myself down and know that it isn’t the end of the world that I haven’t landed an internship yet.
    Answers 1
    Monique Frize, Carleton University and University of Ottawa
    Answered Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 6:54 AM

    You should speak to older students to see how to prepare for interviews. There may also be some help for students at the college for such training. There may also be YouTube help. The important thing is to go in with confidence and try to show your ...

  • Joshua Waters

    Added Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 5:03 PM

    What should my undergrad be? I was thinking Physics and Astrophysics as I plan on pursuing Astronautics. I have no idea what I'm doing, I've been out of school for some time now and would love some advice on how to get back into the routine, where do I even begin? I have little to no background in Physics, what areas should I focus on in studying so that I don't waste my time, I want a solid foundation before re-entering schooling if you have any suggestions that would be fantastic.

    Answers 1
    Missy Cummings, Duke University
    Answered Friday, November 16, 2018 at 12:16 PM
    If you want to be a Aerospace Engineer but have been out of school for sometime, I would first look for a community college that offers basic math and physics courses that transfer to a 4 year university. All engineering degrees require up through ...
  • jessica blanco asked Sunita Satyapal, United Technologies Research Center

    Added Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 10:03 AM

    Answers 1
    Sunita Satyapal, United Technologies Research Center
    Answered Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 1:56 PM

    I studied chemistry and then did a postdoc in applied and engineering physics. I first thought I wanted to teach and took a two year teaching position. Turns out I loved teaching but did not like grading. Also, I wanted to have more impact and so I ...

  • laila asked Priya Singha, University of Georgia

    Added Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 12:59 PM

    Answers 1
    Priya Singha, University of Georgia
    Answered Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 3:52 PM
    Hi Laila,
    
    Biomedical engineers make a variety of tools that help everyone! Some of the tools used by forensic scientists are: microscopes, fume hoods, chromatographs, and spectrometers. These are sometimes made by biomedical engineers but most of the ...
  • Marnie Smith, LivaNova
    Answered Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 1:02 PM
    HI Debbie!
    I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering and work in the Medical Device industry. I'm currently a Director of Quality Engineering which means I'm ultimately responsible that the products we are designing and manufacturing for use with ...
  • Rachel asked Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping

    Added Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 7:00 PM

    By the way my name is Rachel too
    Answers 1
    Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping
    Answered Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 7:19 AM

    I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in four years with a BSE in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and Minor in Mathematics.

    Some of the best expertise I have garnered since has been hands-on in the lab and meeting with industry ...

  • Danielle

    Added Monday, October 15, 2018 at 9:14 AM

    I'm a sophomore in high school and I specifically want to get into designing prosthetics and trying out new devices. I'm I feel kind of overwhelmed with all the options out there.
    Answers 1
    Jenny Boothby, PhD student at UT Dallas
    Answered Monday, November 5, 2018 at 5:52 PM

    Hi Danielle! It's wonderful that you're thinking about college and career options so early!

    So I'm going to talk about applying to college and following your career path/classes separately, as they are pretty different topics.

    Applying for college-
    The ...

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