Students in TZHS’s Project Lead The Way Engineering Program were treated to a presentation from a special guest, Ms. Christine Lee, a retired engineer with vast experience in different engineering fields in the corporate world, and current South Orangetown Board of Education member. Ms. Lee shared her experience coming to the United States at five-years old and her path towards a life-long career in engineering.
Ms. Lee asked the classes to consider why they are studying engineering? One student shared that, “Because your work impacts the world.” She highlighted the importance of sticking with it, even when sacrifices have to be made to invest the time and energy into this field of study. She shared that her career began through studying chemical engineering in college at Rutgers and in graduate school at the Stevenson Institute of Technology. She worked at Nabisco, Pepsi Co, MERK, M&M Mars, and Dannon Yogurt, all consumer products companies where she worked in various roles, including as a production and project manager..
Ms. Lee highlighted the importance of finding a role model and how her brother served as that role model for her. She explained the scope and sequence for majoring in engineering in college, including taking courses in calculus, chemistry, physics, statics and dynamics, English and writing, computer, physics, and electives that can help boost their GPA.,All of these courses are along with the core courses in engineering disciplines such as, aerospace, bio-medical, civil, mechanical, etc. Ms. Lee expressed the need for students to be able to communicate and write effectively, work independently, and in groups. She shared stories of times when she was working in groups and had to know when to chime in, interject, or just listen. She also shared her experiences of taking projects from start to finish through the scope, timeline, scheduling, budgeting, and purchasing. The last part of Ms. Lee’s presentation focused on Women in Engineering. She highlighted women engineers such as, Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, Mary Bara, CEO of General Motors, and Mae C. Jemison, American engineer, physician, former NASA astronaut, and the first black woman in space.
Our students came away with a greater appreciation for the field of engineering and a better understanding of the vast field and types of careers that exist within and outside the sector. Ms. Lee concluded, “If I could leave you with one message it would be to stick with it. You may go to college and have a roommate with a different major and they will have more time than you, but stick with it because it’s a rewarding career that you can change the world with.” A special thank you to Mr. Desantis, TZHS engineering teacher, Ms. Christine Lee, and our Project Lead the Way students for being such a great audience.