This Stevens Institute of Know-how Scholar Received 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 yr as an undergraduate on the Stevens Institute of Know-how, 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 schooling program, which permits her to rotate three full-time work placements throughout the second quarter of the college yr via August. She returns to highschool full time in September with a extra spectacular résumé.

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

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

“Studying from different individuals’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 subject. He would deliver her alongside to conferences and educate her in regards to the development business.

Then she was in a position to achieve on-the-job expertise at FXB, the place she shortly absorbed what she noticed round her.

“I might carry round a pocket book all over the place I went, and I took notes on every thing,” she says. “My group 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 perfect I can.”

She gained the belief of her colleagues, and so they requested her to proceed working with them whereas she attended faculty. She accepted the supply and supported a vital challenge on the agency: designing an underground energy distribution and conduit system within the U.S. Virgin Islands to exchange overhead energy strains. The underground system may decrease energy loss after hurricanes.

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

After finishing her stint at FXB, she entered her first work placement via Stevens, which introduced her to the Lengthy Island Rail Highway, in New York, via HNTB, an infrastructure design firm in Kansas Metropolis, Mo. She accomplished an eight-month task on the LIRR, aiding the traction energy and communications group 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 prepare tracks and needed to ask somebody on the group to stroll me via every thing I wanted to know, all the way down to the fundamentals.”

Dion describes how they spent two hours going via 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 observe.

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 incorrect when an engineering challenge failed.

“My dad taught me to be 1 p.c 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 throughout the development course of, determines who is probably going at fault, and gives professional testimony in courtroom.

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

The significance of management and enterprise expertise

To spherical out her expertise and experience in energy and power, Dion is taking enterprise programs. She figures she may 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 all the time ask me ‘Why?’ to problem my pondering and assist me be the perfect I may be. He’s taught me to be 1 p.c higher every day.” She provides that she will go to him every time she has an engineering query, pulling from his a long time of expertise within the business.

Due to her background—rising up across the electrical business—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 business is a chance, she says, including that there’s a lot of help and camaraderie amongst ladies within the subject.

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

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

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