The Future of Engineering: Asthma Machine by Patricia Orozco

Her heart pounding and palms sweating, the woman waited anxiously in her velvet-cushioned seat. She glanced around the beautifully decorated room, amazed with the massive crystal chandelier shining directly above her head. She turned and found thousands of people around her, thousands of the most brilliant people she has ever met. The woman flipped through her stack of index cards, making sure her speech was finally memorized. The woman gazed up at the speaker. She closed her eyes as the sharply dressed man spoke slowly, "And the Engineer of the Year Award goes to Ms. Jennifer Matozco."

The woman opened her eyes and still found the tall man in the black suit in front of her. No, this was not a dream.

The woman carefully made her way up the red carpet in her black floor-length gown. When she reached the podium, she smiled timidly in front of thousands of brilliant, yet unfamiliar faces. "Ladies and gentleman. It is my honor to receive this prestigious award." She hesitated, and then dropped her stack of index cards on the floor. She turned to the speaker and gestured him not to pick them up. No longer afraid of the people around her, she spoke candidly about the past 50 years of her life working as an engineer.

"I learned years ago that millions of people suffer from asthma everyday. Not being able to breath is the most terrifying experience one could ever have. Imagine suffering through this every single day of your life. I wanted to cure this disease. For the next 40 years of my life, I devoted myself to this project. And finally, with the help of an amazing team behind me, I created a machine that would cure people of their asthma, permanently. I knew I had done something special, but I had no idea how much of an impact I had made. Until recently, that is.

"Asked to go to Room 234 immediately, I walked briskly down the hallway of St. Vincent's Children's Hospital. Entering the room, I found an elderly man crying. I tapped the man's shoulder. He turned around and amidst tears, he said to me, 'You saved my grandson's life.' On the bed, hooked up to the machine I had designed and pushed to have created, was a little boy named Charlie. Charlie could finally breathe after years of severe asthma. That was the first time I realized my efforts as an engineer had not gone to waste."

The woman stepped off the podium as the room burst into thunderous applause. This woman exceeded the expectations of what the future of engineering had to offer. In the future, I see many engineers capable of solving many severe problems people face everyday. It is now up to the next generation of engineers to make this woman's amazing career a tangible reality - promising to the world a prosperous future for the field of engineering.