This Stevens Institute of Expertise Pupil Bought a Head Begin in Engineering

Many youngsters take a job at a restaurant or retail retailer, however Megan Dion obtained a head begin on her engineering profession. At 16, she landed a part-time place at FXB, a mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering firm in Chadds Ford, Pa., the place she helped create and optimize challenge designs.

She continued to work on the firm throughout her first 12 months as an undergraduate on the Stevens Institute of Expertise, in Hoboken, N.J., the place she is learning electrical engineering with a focus in energy engineering. Now a junior, Dion is a part of the five-year Stevens cooperative training program, which permits her to rotate three full-time work placements in the course of the second quarter of the college 12 months by means of August. She returns to high school full time in September with a extra spectacular résumé.

For her educational achievements, Dion acquired an IEEE Energy & Vitality Society scholarship this 12 months. The PES Scholarship Plus Initiative rewards undergraduates who in the future are more likely to construct inexperienced applied sciences and alter the best way we generate and make the most of energy. Dion acquired US $2,000 towards her training.

She says she’s wanting ahead to networking with different scholarship recipients and IEEE members.

“Studying from different folks’s tales and seeing myself in them and the place my profession may very well be in 10 or 15 years” motivates her, she says.

Gaining hands-on expertise in energy engineering

Dion’s early publicity to engineering got here from her father, who owned a business electrical development enterprise for 20 years, and sparked her curiosity within the area. He would carry her alongside to conferences and train her in regards to the development trade.

Then she was capable of acquire on-the-job expertise at FXB, the place she rapidly absorbed what she noticed round her.

“I’d carry round a pocket book all over the place I went, and I took notes on all the things,” she says. “My crew knew they by no means must clarify one thing to me twice.”

“If I’m going to do one thing, I’m going to do it the very best I can.”

She gained the belief of her colleagues, and so they requested her to proceed working with them whereas she attended school. She accepted the provide and supported a crucial challenge on the agency: designing an underground energy distribution and conduit system within the U.S. Virgin Islands to interchange overhead energy traces. The underground system might reduce energy loss after hurricanes.

Expert in AutoCAD software program, she contributed to {the electrical} design. Dion labored instantly with the senior electrical designer and the president of the corporate, and she or he helped ship standing updates. The expertise, she says, solidified her choice to turn out to be an influence engineer.

After finishing her stint at FXB, she entered her first work placement by means of Stevens, which introduced her to the Lengthy Island Rail Highway, in New York, by means of HNTB, an infrastructure design firm in Kansas Metropolis, Mo. She accomplished an eight-month task on the LIRR, helping the traction energy and communications crew in DC electrical system design for a significant capability enchancment challenge for commuters within the New York metropolitan space.

Engaged on a railroad job was out of her consolation zone, she says, however she was up for the problem.

“In my first assembly with the agency, I used to be in shock,” she says. “I used to be taking a look at practice tracks and needed to ask somebody on the crew to stroll me by means of all the things I wanted to know, all the way down to the fundamentals.”

Dion describes how they spent two hours going by means of every kind of drawing produced, together with third-rail sectionalizing, negative-return diagrams, and conduit routing. Every sheet included 15 to 30 meters of a 3.2-kilometer part of monitor.

What Dion has appreciated most in regards to the work placement program, she says, is studying about area of interest areas inside energy and electrical engineering.

She’s now at her second placement, at structural engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti in New York Metropolis, the place she is diving into forensic engineering. The position pursuits her due to its concentrate on investigating what went flawed when an engineering challenge failed.

“My dad taught me to be 1 % higher every day.”

“It’s a profession path I had by no means recognized about earlier than,” she says. Thornton Tomasetti investigates when one thing goes awry in the course of the development course of, determines who is probably going at fault, and gives knowledgeable testimony in court docket.

Dion joined IEEE in 2020 to construct her engineering community. She is getting ready to graduate from Stevens subsequent 12 months, after which plans to pursue a grasp’s diploma in electrical engineering whereas working full time.

The significance of management and enterprise abilities

To spherical out her expertise and experience in energy and power, Dion is taking enterprise programs. She figures she would possibly in the future comply with in her father’s entrepreneurial path.

“My dad is my largest supporter in addition to my largest challenger,” she says. “He’ll at all times ask me ‘Why?’ to problem my considering and assist me be the very best I might be. He’s taught me to be 1 % higher every day.” She provides that she will be able to go to him every time she has an engineering query, pulling from his many years of expertise within the trade.

Due to her background—rising up across the electrical trade—she has been much less intimidated when she is the one girl in a gathering, she says. She finds that being a lady in a male-dominated trade is a chance, she says, including that there’s a lot of help and camaraderie amongst girls within the area.

Whereas excelling academically, she can also be a starter on the varsity volleyball crew at Stevens. She has performed the game since she was within the seventh grade. Her athletic background has taught her essential abilities, she says, together with the right way to lead by instance and the significance of guaranteeing your entire crew is supported and dealing nicely collectively.

Dion’s aggressive nature received’t permit her to carry herself again: “If I’m going to do one thing,” she says, “I’m going to do it the very best I can.”

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