Engineering Week: Changing the Conversation Around Engineering

Engineering is no longer exclusively for people who love science and math. Engineering can be a fulfilling career for creative types as well.

04/02/2018


Dawn Sera, Southland Industries

Based on current studies, America has a shortage of engineers, which is hurting our economy and inhibiting our country’s continued success. We need to encourage our younger generation, especially girls, to explore engineering as a career choice. Recent studies have shown that the ratio of female to male engineers is approximately one in four. If more women became interested in studying engineering, and continued on a path to a fulfilling engineering career, then some of our nation’s deficiencies in the engineering field could be alleviated.

In the past, engineering has been thought of as a career only for people who love math and science, and something that only boys were encouraged to do. Not true. Engineering is for anyone who likes imaginative problem solving, is creative, and wants to improve living conditions. Furthermore, the wages and benefits are excellent, and there are currently many engineering jobs available for those who are qualified.

For me, plumbing engineering has been satisfying to my creative personality. I have learned and implemented engineering knowledge that helps conserve our limited resources using innovative plumbing design. For instance, we can use waste water, taken from building plumbing fixtures, recycle it, and reuse it to flush toilets or to irrigate landscaped areas. We can also route piping from a building’s rainwater system and drainage from mechanical equipment, and reuse it to help irrigate the building’s surrounding trees and plants. Solar panels can be incorporated into the engineering of a building’s hot water systems to help save energy.

Being a plumbing engineer has other interesting aspects. I go to meetings where I build strong relationships with others in various trades, allowing me to meet people in the industry with similar passions. I attend conventions specific to my profession where other innovative thinkers share their knowledge. I go on construction site visits and see the efforts of my design being built during various stages of construction and, in the end, observe the fully functioning systems that previously only existed in the computer, or on the plans. No two projects are the same; there is always an opportunity to learn something new.

Here, we are only talking about plumbing engineering, which is a small subdivision of mechanical engineering. There are so many other branches of engineering to explore, which makes it easy for a person to find something that will interest them, and enable them to make a positive impact in whatever field they may choose. So please, you can truly help “Make America Great Again” by encouraging your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews to explore engineering as a career that can empower them to play a major role in shaping our country’s future.


Dawn Sera is Senior Design Engineer at Southland Engineering. This article originally appeared on Southland Industries' blog, In The Big Room. Southland Industries is a CFE Media content partner.



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