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Twin Cities Engineering: ‘Student Engineers’November 14, 2023 |
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
At a recent conference, I met Benjemin Redlin and Joey Stam, student engineers at the Twin Cities Engineering program at Minnesota State. I asked them about their experiences and their perspectives on moving into industry. What struck me was just how practical these two young men were in their thinking, and how practiced they are in their soft skills.
Nolan Johnson: Tell me about something you experienced in this program that was particularly impactful to you.
Benjemin Redlin: I think it’s the opportunities that I've been given. In a big university, you're a number to the professors; they don't know you by name. Here, the professors very much know you by name, so they give you opportunities. One of my professors, Jake Swanson, gave me an internship for particle dispersion in an outdoor environment, related to COVID particles. I did testing over the summer, and then I went to Spain and presented my results at the International Aerosol Conference. I would never have gotten the opportunity, or even really known about aerosols if it hadn’t been for that professor.
Johnson: Presenting your original research at a conference is a really big deal. That will open your world view.
Redlin: Yes, it does.
Johnson: Joey, what was most impactful for you so far?
Joey Stam: This program has helped my confidence. Coming in, I was definitely the engineering stereotype, “Look at your own shoes, don't even look at the other person's shoes.” But Jake Swanson offered me a position designing ventilation systems for buses. Through that, he mentored me into more of a leadership position, helping me gain a skill to lead teams. I've led two teams these past two semesters. The professors know us personally, and figure out how and where to push you to get you to a certain point. Right now, Rob (Sleezer) is telling me to start thinking about my master’s or PhD to get further into the research aspect of engineering. I'm working on a paper with Jake right now, which is super exciting. I talk about my research with my parents all the time, and they just get that glazed look on their faces. I didn't know what I was going to be interested in until I got to do it.
To read this entire conversation, which appeared in the November 2023 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.
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