Academic Spotlight: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering Building by Anthony Rodriguez

The Whitacre College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Texas Tech University is called home to millions of students that have walked through its campus. Over the 97 years that it’s been open to students, Texas Tech has grown to boost 13 unique colleges with over 150 undergraduate degrees, 100 graduate degrees, and 50 doctoral degrees. One of the most prominent colleges is The Whitacre College of Engineering. 5,988 students enrolled in the college as of Fall 2019. Most importantly, the largest being the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Their mission is to give students access to nationally recognized education and state of the art technology grounded in mechanical engineering fundamentals. Along with the support and growth of students’ technical developments and innovation to meet their goals and surpass what they think is possible. Do not just take our word for it. We sat down with Joshua Ambriz, a recent December 2020 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

What motivated you to choose Mechanical Engineering?

Before entering college, all I knew was that I wanted to “help people.”. As I looked at myself in high school, I realized that I was pretty good at math and science. I was also a part of the engineering club, and my favorite teacher for my engineering classes was a construction engineer. I decided to follow in his stead and apply my knowledge in Math and Science to benefit mankind in some way.

Because I had no previous experience with computers or electronics, I decided to go with Mechanical Engineering. This decision proved to be the best option for me because mechanical engineers deal with the physical aspects of things. They are often very hands-on with projects, and they get to apply their creativity and problem-solving skills in the design process. Knowing how to create the most efficient design for a certain application, the right material to use, and the best manufacturing process are some examples of the talents offered by a Mechanical Engineer.

What kind of career path can a student pursue having a Mechanical Engineering degree?

My first response is, “what career path can a student NOT pursue with this degree!” Mechanical Engineering offers a wide variety of careers and plenty of job options after graduation. Opportunities in HVAC, Oil and Gas Industry, Aerospace and Defense, Architecture, Construction, Mass Production, Automobile Industry, Graduate Research, and Small business Startups all come to my mind, but there are even more applications that a Mechanical Engineer can apply themselves to. The sheer volume of options allows the student to select what field suits them the most.

What kind of career do you hope to have with this major?

The dream for me is to work as a Senior Mechanical Engineer for an Aerospace company like NASA or Space X. This dream is going to take a lot more work to achieve. Even after graduation, I must eventually go back to school to complete my master’s degree in order to have the right qualifications. For now, I want to have a job where I am applying the knowledge I gained in my classes in a meaningful way. I would like to work at a smaller firm for a few years and gain as much experience I can as an entry-level engineer. Once I have sufficient experience (and funds), I’ll be ready to go back to school and continue pursuing my dream.

We also got the chance to sit down with Paul Egan, an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

What impact does this degree have on the workforce?

A Mechanical Engineering degree is one of the most versatile technical degrees that provides a wide range of possibilities for future work. Mechanical engineers design, build, and test systems in a wide number of areas, including medicine, automotive, software, aerospace, and energy. Mechanical engineers are educated with a skillset for learning and adapting to future technological changes that makes them valuable in almost any type of career.

What kind of career path can a student pursue having a Mechanical Engineering degree?

Mechanical Engineering opens paths in many traditional areas of industry for engineering and management in a number of areas, as mentioned before, in addition to further career opportunities in consulting, research, and entrepreneurship.

How long have you been teaching at the college level?

At Texas Tech, I have been teaching for about two and a half years. Prior to teaching here, I have experience as a teaching assistant and developing one new engineering design methods course at previous Universities.

What is your favorite part about teaching?

Providing the environment and opportunities for students to challenge themselves to learn and grow. Especially as students see all their hard work pay off when completing a project or reflecting on the difficult tasks they have overcome throughout their degree program to become better engineers.

What classes do you teach?

I teach design courses including Introduction to Engineering Design, Design I, and Design II. I am planning to teach engineering electives and graduate courses in design as well.

What other things have you done besides teaching?

I have helped advise and carry out entrepreneurship projects with Sling health Medical and the Innovation Hub. I direct the Medicine, Mechanics, and Manufacturing (M3D) Design Lab, where we publish research and host student projects. Outside of Tech, maintaining a good work-life balance is important, especially in enjoying time outside and regular physical activities.

No matter what you want to do, Mechanical Engineering can help you reach your goal. It builds you up to the standards you are working to achieve. It also helps lead you down the path of success in becoming one of the next great inventors.

If you want to learn more about opportunities you can have with Mechanical Engineering, check out their university page here.

For more Academic Spotlights, check out our academic tab.

Story by Charles Turman, Campus Live Intern

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