On April 29th, the 13th annual Engineering Mentor Night was held from 5-6:30 p.m. virtually on Zoom, hosted by Michael Pugh, SACNAS President and MESA-LSAMP scholar at Seattle Central College, along with STEM organizations including: PSEC, MESA at Seattle Central College, TRIO, RST (The Ready Set, Transfer!), PNW LSAMP (The Pacific NorthWest Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation), PSA LSAMP (The LSAMP Sound Alliance), and the Society of Women Engineers at University of Washington.
The event started with Marilyn Saavedra-Leyva, Seattle Central College’s MESA Director, with the Land Use Acknowledgement. Then, Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange gave some words of appreciation to PSEC and participating organizations for helping to bring this valuable opportunity to the students. Luis Leon, Boeing Associated Technical Fellow and Engineering Mentor Night Coordinator, also expressed his opinions on how beneficial it is for students to attend networking events like this. It helps students get to learn new things and have fun at the same time. Later, the breakout rooms were opened for participants to join their desired mentor. There were around 61 students and 29 mentors who joined the event. Mentors came from several different fields including Mechanical, Electrical, Materials, Civil & Environmental, Aerospace & Industrial, and Computer Science Engineering.
Seattle Collegian’s staff Smile Tongkaw had the opportunity to speak with three mentors from different disciplines, including industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering and engineering physics.
Samuel Gheesling, Boeing’s manufacturing engineer with over 21 years of experience, told his story from when he graduated to how he landed his internship to how he started to work at Boeing. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering before joining Boeing in 1996.
Retired Boeing industrial engineer Stephen Snelling gave much valuable advice on a student’s college career. Snelling retold his experience from back when he was in school through to his work experience at Boeing. He gave information about what students can expect after transfer: internships, senior capstone projects, and other professional organization opportunities that will benefit them in the future. He asked about the students’ interests in the breakout room and gave insight into each engineering field in the workforce. Snelling told the students that it’s important to “make noise” and make as many connections as possible during their time becoming professional engineers. He also emphasized the fact that students should plan their career early, particularly with thinking about their capstone project as soon as possible by visiting the college’s departmental website and having a look at past projects. Lastly, Snelling described that a part of his job as a project manager is to help his team function well collaboratively. From his work experience, problem-solving is an essential skill for engineer leaders.
The series of conversations ended with Vincent Bell, a former engineer for Boeing, now working as a Senior Professional Staff Engineer and Physicist at the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He provided some insights into his job as an optimization engineer at Boeing.
Overall, this experience allowed the students to open up and explore the engineering field at the next level. PSEC is expected to host this mentor night every year, so be sure to visit pseconline.org to stay updated.