Celebrating STEM/STEAM Day with the Next Generation
As a firm, we focus on initiatives that bring STEM and STEAM programs to communities across the Northeast. Our engineers volunteer for programs which help future generations, whether it’s digging into the specific types of STEM jobs for high school students or helping younger kids discover STEM for the first time.
Recently, engineers Sam Taugher, Jeremy Rapoza, Andrea Lacasse, Jens Meinig, Mike Rossini, Alex Fagnand, and Sean Pringle participated in a “What Would the Pros Do?” workshop for the Applied Learning HUB. It was a chance for our team to share their knowledge and advice as students of the Applied Learning HUB embark on a long-term project to design a prototype of a compound machine using gears, pulleys and drives that will help the elderly easily put heavy books back onto library bookshelves.
The engineers recorded the session so the Applied Learning HUB can use soundbites from the workshop with engineering classes across Massachusetts. Check out just some of the Q&A with our engineers below.
How is the project the students are completing similar to the work engineers do every day?
“Just like the students, you need to understand where the design is going, who it’s intended to serve, and what the specific needs and characteristics of that end user are. You may still build something that works, but does it truly perform the task needed?”
– Alex Fagnand, PE | Project Manager
What do you do when there is a pitfall during a project, or you hit a snag in the design process?
“Ask other people because knowledge can come in different forms. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the person who has the 20-year career either. Maybe it’s just someone who had a similar experience with something, so they can bring that knowledge to the table.
“I always encourage staff engineers to ‘answer shop.’ And what I’ve learned is that engineering is not a science, it’s an art form. So, ask three different people one question about how to design something, you’re going to get three different answers and you can take all of that and you can come up with a more perfect solution for your project. There’s no such thing as one right answer.”
– Andrea Lacasse, PE | Senior Engineer
What is one piece of advice you have for the students as they move through their design process?
“Don’t be married to your own idea. As you communicate with others while working in a team there might be a better way to do things. And even if somebody takes your idea apart or questions it, it’s not personal. It’s about getting to the end solution, and the best solution for the client.”
– Jens Meinig, CPD | Mechanical Engineer