Western Wayne Class of 2015 graduate Carly Swingle wants students at her alma mater to choose fulfilling career paths and not settle for work they find uninteresting.
On Tuesday, March 12, Swingle had the unique opportunity to return to Western Wayne High School as a part of the first Western Wayne Engineering Day for students in grades 8 through 12. The program included presentations by employees of Lockheed Martin, where Swingle has worked for the past three month, a video presentation about the engineering field, a female panel discussion of engineers and future engineers, and a 3-D printing activity with Johnson College.
Industrial arts teacher Mr. Brian Landry worked with high school science teacher Ms. Maria Masankay and middle school guidance counselor Mr. Joe Totsky to coordinate the event to give Western Wayne students the chance to learn about opportunities in the engineering field.
“Sometimes middle and high school students don’t realize that the engineering field is so diverse,” Landry explained. “I hope this event gives them some exposure to it.”
Students in both the middle and high school were given the option to attend the event, and about 40 students interested in learning more about the engineering field attended.
The attendees believe that their experience at Engineering Day has helped them to get more information about possible career paths.
Eighth grader Tarena Strasburger has always felt interested in an engineering career. She feels her time at Engineering Day has helped her want to pursue a career in this field.
“When I was younger I enjoyed building things out of wood or playing with Legos,” she explained. “I love to build and would like to develop my skills and someday work in aerospace engineering.”
Tarena’s classmate, fellow eighth grader, Kristin Hauenstein has also felt she has excelled at working with her hands from a young age.
“I like working on cars and am looking forward to taking introduction to auto-technology in high school,” Kristin said. “I most enjoyed finding out about mechanical engineering at today’s event.”
The high school students in attendance also were excited to attend a program focused on a career field they found of high interest.
Senior Josh Shelly wishes to attend Johnson College next year to study CNC Manufacturing. Josh became interested in engineering through his work with Western Wayne’s Robotics Team.
“I really want a career where I can work hands on rather than sitting in an office and was glad to learn about this from a former Western Wayne student,” Josh said.
Josh referenced Western Wayne graduate Carly Swingle who spoke to the students about her work at Lockheed Martin as an engineer.
“My job is constantly changing,” Swingle, who recently graduated from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, explained. “Each day is never the same as the last. I get to design things some days and work with power tools to do building tests the next.”
Juniors Jake Shepherd and Cody Aleckna aspire to do engineering work in the military. Both Jake and Cody wish to become mechanical engineers in the Air Force.
“I think it is easier to concentrate on hands on work,” Jake explained. He hopes to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps in joining the military.
Cody wishes to follow the path of his father and cousin who each served in the military.
“It was good to gain more knowledge on a field that I am going into to know what’s to come,” Cody explained.
Freshmen Richie Reed and Ryan Vinton both went into the experience highly interested in the engineering field and were also thrilled to gain more knowledge on their future career paths. Richie enjoys working with cars and welding in his metal shop class at school. Ryan became interested in the civil engineering field after having the opportunity, through a friend, to visit a job site where a bridge was being built across the Delaware River last year.
Students like Richie and Ryan and all of the others in attendance at the first Engineering Day at Western Wayne are why Mr. Landry hopes to make this a yearly tradition that grows with time. He wishes to get other Wayne County schools involved next year and eventually to work with schools in Lackawanna County on giving students the opportunity to explore the engineering field.
“I think it’s worthwhile for our students to learn about such a developing career field,” Landry said.