The College Inventors Competition is now accepting entries for 2016. This is a national event, so inventors from all over the United States are entering their ideas. This event is for people who are looking to impact the world and make changes through ideas. It is a great way to gain recognition for your ideas, especially since some of the ideas in the past have been featured in Forbes, Popular Science, USA Today, and even the U.S. News and World Report. Inventors also have the opportunity to network with National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and innovation experts like Eric R. Fossum and Spencer Silver (the founder of Post-It notes) to name a few. There is also the opportunity to connect with other innovators and discuss ideas. The winners from last year created a dual pressure respiratory system and the second place student invented a way for early cancer detection. The range of entries was impressive and the array of universities was equally impressive. This event could be a great way for mechanical engineers at Lehigh to bring awareness to their ideas and even win cash prizes. Be sure to check out their website and keep innovating!!
It is one of my favorite times of year again when prospective students come to visit Lehigh and learn more about what we have to offer. Candidates day is this weekend for the P.C Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, and I have decided to wake up super early to be in Packard at 8:30 am to answer questions these students and their parents may have. I will also be giving a tour, which is actually really fun because it brings up a lot of memories for me. As I talk about classes and professors I think about all of the amazing things that I have been able to do on Lehigh’s campus. I participated in this day last year and can’t wait for this weekend to come so that I can express my love for Lehigh and engineering. It will also be awesome because I will get to hear from the new President John Simon. It will be interesting to see what he has to say to these prospective students about coming to Lehigh. It is definitely a huge decision, and I hope all of these students will come after participating in Candidates day. Hopefully I don’t trip on the sidewalk while attempting to walk backwards.
This is going to be me!!!!
Lehigh offers a one year professional degree program in Technical Entrepreneurship, which is unlike any University out there. Recently they had an open house at Wilbur Powerhouse, and the new class will start classes on July 5th. What makes this program so special though is definitely the idea of product development and really diving into bringing products to market. From what I understood from the open house was that they conduct this program much like the groups at IDEO. They focus on answering the hard questions and really getting immersed in a problem. Students are pushed to look deeper and push the envelope. Like a lot of programs in the Baker Institute there is a lot of learning by doing, and not just sitting in a lecture hall. This is definitely a very interesting program that graduating mechanical engineers should look into, especially if you are looking to start your own company.
Below is a link to their slide deck for more information:
It seems every girl in high school who is good at math and science is told to pursue engineering. Statistically speaking women are underrepresented in engineering. Fewer than 19 percent of engineering students in the United States are women (compared with 25 percent at Lehigh), and only about 13 percent of working engineers are women (SWE). So for the sake of womenkind it made sense for me to major in engineering. I was also very interested in renewable energy and saw mechanical engineering as a way for me to learn the skills I need to make a difference in that field. However, after freshman year I began to wonder if I really wanted to be an engineer. Like every student in college I began to question what I wanted to do when I grew up.
This past semester was a piece from a novel in itself for me. I joined a start-up University in San Francisco whose goal is to create citizens of the world. I realized though that online learning was not what I wanted even though at the time it sounded amazing to travel to 7 different cities around the world. I didn’t think that would mean being in 7 different cities and interacting with my classmates through a skype like platform even though they were in the same building. It seemed awesome, but I came to realize quickly that it just doesn’t make sense. I then took a flight back home to Boston where I applied for internships, yet somehow got a job offer, which I had to refuse since I was coming to back to Lehigh in the Spring. Then spent the rest of my time trying to start my own multi-level marketing company and waitressing. On top of all of this I auditioned for the Voice and had shoulder surgery for a second time, since I tore it out climbing. I also spent a lot of time volunteering at my local Boys and Girls Club and an animal shelter. I really began to question everything.
Long story short upon returning to Lehigh I decided to try business instead of engineering. A few weeks later, and I realized that I am definitely an engineer. I missed the classes that challenge my brain and are not just about memorization. I missed the problem solving aspect of engineering. Someone once told me an engineering degree is more than just a degree, it is a way of thinking. I understand this now more than ever, but I am also glad I didn’t just settle and explored my options. Some people stay in a situation just because they think they don’t have an option or are to afraid to make the leap. I learned that I am a risk taker and and am willing to try anything. One thing I am not is someone who settles. So my advice to college students out there is to face your fears and don’t just settle, life is a journey and its time to explore.
I had the privilege recently of talking to a Mechanical Engineering graduate student Nipun Goel about the research that he does on campus and advice that he had to students considering graduate school. Nipun is a Ph.D student and is actually graduating in one and a half months. He started his Masters Degree when he came to Lehigh in 2010, and was first attracted to Lehigh because of the energy research center. Before coming to Lehigh he attended undergrad in India and worked for two years in the power plant industry. Currently, his research involves looking at materials that have a high temperature on one end and a colder temperature on the other end, this temperature difference creates an electric current in the material, which Nipun hopes to utilize. The goal of this research is to look at the grains in materials and determine a material that is the most efficient in this process. The material needs to be able to reduce the resistance to heat transfer, and the goal of this technology is to use it in a car engine or a power plant where wasted heat energy can be used to power maybe the electronics in a car making it more fuel efficient. Nipun informed me they are five to ten years away from this goal,since his research primarily deals with looking at the atom structures of materials and calculating the forces of their interactions, and therefore he can calculate temperature.
In addition to research Nipun also participates in the Graduate Student Senate and last year he aided in putting together the first Gatsby Gala with the Undergraduate Student Senate. When asked what his favorite graduate class was at Lehigh he stated he really enjoyed a physics class that related to his research, and he said it was interesting that he is a mechanical engineer researching materials, and using the applications of physics. He said everything that you do ends up coming full circle. He also said that his one piece of advice would be to take courses that are not requirements and just go for it. This is the time to explore and learn new things, so why not reach out of your required mechanical engineering classes and try for instance a music class.
The GREEN program is designed to unlock doors for students around the globe. They seek students curious about the world and ready to step outside their comfort zone. This is an educational experience, but what differentiates the GREEN Program from other study abroad opportunities is the direct industry experience. In this program students take classes at a local university and present a final capstone project to Iceland’s leading sustainable energy industry professionals. Additionally, they take a class on geothermal energy, hike through the canyons and bath in geothermal hot springs. Below is a sample itinerary of what students can do on this expedition.
You may be wondering why Iceland. Many people don’t know, but Iceland is the greenest country to exist on our planet, 100% of Iceland’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources. This makes it a prime learning environment for engineers interested in renewable energy.
This is another example of a summer opportunity open to engineers. Many students struggle to find opportunities, but this program was forwarded to me in an email from one of my professors. There are always amazing things to do you just have to keep looking and applying. The key to getting an internship or abroad experience is to start early and apply for things you are passionate about whether that is aerospace or renewable energy like in this case.
In college you always need to be thinking ahead especially when it comes to making plans for the summer. At Lehigh there are tons of options that include taking classes, LauchBayC, which is a program for entrepreneurs, Mountaintop projects, and research. Additionally many students apply for internships and study abroad. I interviewed a few Mechanical Engineers and am really impressed by the range of activities people are participating in this summer.
Adrien, is interested in going to graduate school for aerospace engineering, so he is participating in a project with a professor this upcoming summer in that field. Their aim is to find the best angle of attack at which the wings of an airplane should be positioned to maximize speed, while also reducing fuel consumption. They will also investigate which materials are the most suitable in order to reduce turbulence. Their first step is to prototype the wing, then they will test it in the wind tunnel in Packard Lab.
John, is looking to get an internship at a mechanical engineering firm close to home. He is interested in machine and product design, and wants to do something in that area once he graduates. He is also considering taking Chinese classes or participating in the GREEN Program. The GREEN program is a 10 day summer program where he would travel to another country and learn how that country is innovating green technology.
Jenny, is traveling to Ireland to participate in research abroad. She has always wanted to go to Ireland and saw this as the perfect opportunity to expand her horizons.