The Education Foundation of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) does some marvelous work. When I was close to a chapter a few years ago, I was quite proud of the work the local people did supporting engineering education. The EF does this on a larger scale.

Have you noticed that there are not many women in our part of the engineering community? Here’s an effort to change that.

Young women are most likely to be influenced by other young women for many of their life choices, including technology-based careers in advanced manufacturing. A new video, “Women in Engineering,” showcases the critical importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and features Quality Control Engineer, Rebecca “Becky” Miller at GE Aviation, Evendale, Ohio describing the work of manufacturing engineering and the reasons why she finds her field rewarding.

The SME Education Foundation, AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology, Gardner Business Media, and Modern Machine Shop magazine collaborated to produce and distribute this video as part of an effort to help educators explain manufacturing careers to young people. SME Education Foundation (SME-EF) is sending the video on DVD, along with a discussion guide, to about 4,800 Project Lead The Way schools and high schools for viewing during National Engineers Week—February 17-23. The video was filmed and produced by Creative Technology Corp.

Manufacturing is great

“Manufacturing is great,” says Becky. “Jobs held by women working in advanced manufacturing jobs don’t strictly revolve around machines, nor do they spend their days at a computer analyzing data. This industry allows me to use my technical, problem-solving and communication skills. I enjoy the daily challenge of working with parts that are so complicated. Every day, at every step, I am challenged by something different. At the end of the day, when I see our planes fly, I get a lot of satisfaction knowing I’m a part of the technical processes making that possible.”

Becky, who has worked hard to achieve her education and career goals, serves as a positive example to young women seeking answers to their own career possibilities. Becky has a natural talent for math and science and before graduating from Walton Verona High School in Walton, Ky., did considerable online research of colleges and universities offering Industrial Engineering courses of study and selected the University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky. She received her Bachelors in 2008 and her Masters in 2009. While in school she worked as a co-op student at Toyota Motor for three semesters and after completing her third rotation, began part-time work at GE Appliances. She was recommended for a two-year Operations Management Leadership Program at GE Aviation which paved the way to her present position.

In the video, Peter Zelinski, writer and editor at Modern Machine Shop magazine, interviews Becky in a one-on-one interview on the plant floor at GE Aviation. They share a similar background. Pete graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati and first learned about machining by running and programming machine tools in a metalworking laboratory within GE Aircraft Engines.

As they walk the plant floor, students and educators learn about Becky’s responsibilities at GE Aviation as each of them with their engineering educational background, share their knowledge. The format allows Pete to ask questions important to students and educators, as Becky explains her job responsibilities. Advanced manufacturing systems are discussed including terminology, processes and systems, engine testing and development, assembly, torque-testing, product audits and tolerances, forging, and turning.

Engineers’ skills

Engineers use their imagination and analytical skills to invent, design, and build things that matter. They are team players with independent minds who turn ideas into reality. Many become licensed professional engineers (PE’s) in order to better protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. By dreaming up creative and practical solutions, engineers are changing the world all the time.

GE Aviation is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as avionics, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft with an extensive global service network to support these products.

The SME Education Foundation is committed to creating a manufacturing education pathway for young people to help them compete in the 21st century global economy. The Foundation provides funding to organizations with programming offering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines to help students make informed career decisions.

The Foundation’s efforts are based on increasing awareness among young people beginning in elementary school through middle and high school and then as they pursue college-level and/or technical training. Special emphasis is placed on women and minorities, two groups the manufacturing industry has recognized as largely untapped pools of talent. The Foundation also supports “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” being celebrated on Thursday, February 21.

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