National Engineers Week: Celebrating the Careers [and Future Careers] of Golden Bears Near and Far
This year, we sat down with current students and alumni of some of our engineering programs for National Engineers Week, February 21-27, 2016. You’ve read a bit about these talented Golden Bears in the magazine. Now, you can read about how they’re building amazing careers in five fields.
FELIPE SOZINHO, ’16 – ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
Felipe chased his love for electrical engineering to Montgomery from Brazil. At Tech, he learned his trade while playing soccer and leading student organizations. Ultimately, he wants to work in power generation, connecting the world to renewable energy.
“Engineers are responsible for putting in place great advances we have in technology. I’m excited about electrical engineering because of the fact that it is always evolving, that there is always new technology being developed and that one day I might be part of something great.”
HANK WRIGHT, P.E. ’68 – ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
An accomplished electrical engineer, Hank has experience in a wide range of industries on projects ranging from simple process control systems to massive, multimillion-dollar international facilities. He says he’s happy with the path he’s taken.
“There’s this thing about experience—you can’t get it until you get it. There are no shortcuts, so you need to find a career that can offer you a variety of opportunities. Engineering is a career that can do that.”Read more about Hank
TAVON JOHNSON, ’16 – MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Tavon launched a popular student design exposition and worked as an intern at a cybersecurity firm during his years at WVU Tech. Now, he’s using that experience in Pittsburgh as a field engineer working on power plant and water treatment projects.
“I think that’s one of the most fascinating things, not only about mechanical engineering, but about engineering in general—being able to make people’s lives so much easier just because you’re able to see complex problems, see how things are working and how to make them work in a better way.”
NATHAN STARK, P.E., MBA, ’07 – MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Nathan grew up in Wirt County, West Virginia, where he discovered his love for mechanical engineering among the gears and bolts of his father’s log mill. He followed that interest to the chemical industry, where he works as a Project Engineer on plant projects for Dow Chemical.
“Everybody is working very hard to do more with less resources. Every project is unique, so doing this is not as easy as you would think. I believe this will be one of the big differentiators in project management in the coming years.”Read more about Nathan.
JEREMY RUTH – COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
A born tinkerer, Jeremy has spent his life figuring out how things work. He’s fascinated with the intersection of computer science and electrical engineering—so fascinated, in fact, that the double-major is working on a degree in each field.
“Ideally, I would like to be in a situation where the goal is to solve problems by developing new devices or hardware. Something where I can mix research and design and really put what I’ve learned in both fields to work.”
TOM THOMPSON, PH.D., ’92 – COMPUTER SCIENCE
Tom grew up writing code by hand and tinkering with Radio Shack microcomputers. Since then, he’s built an impressive career in the film and video game industries, working on popular Disney films like “Frozen” and building artist tools for video game giant, Blizzard Entertainment.
“When I started, computers were like toys. They weren’t that powerful. Now they’re everywhere. It’s hard to do anything without touching upon a computer at some point. There’s no shortage of ways to get involved in that field.”Read more about Tom.
GABBI KELLEY, ’16 – COMPUTER ENGINEERING
Gabbi wears a lot of hats. She’s an entrepreneur with a small jewelry business. She’s an outdoor adventure enthusiast. She’s a natural leader. She’s also an up-and-coming computer engineer who is looking forward to a career where small is the new big.
“In the next few years, I see computer engineers creating devices on a smaller and smaller scale. I’m excited to see how these new technologies can be applied to the medical field, the aerospace industry and in our day-to-day lives.”
HARRISON MARTIN – CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
Harrison has always been fascinated with how chemicals play a role in our everyday lives. He’s in his senior year and he’s earning experience through research and internships that will help him put that fascination to work.
“The thing I find most exciting about my field of study is the fact that I will always have something to do. There will always be projects that I can work on. There will always be new technology, and new experiences.”
LORI SHAFFER, P.E., ’94 – CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
Lori works at Columbia Pipeline Group as Lead Gas Quality Engineer, where she monitors gas quality in more than 15,000 miles of pipeline. She says her time at WVUTech taught her to work effectively.
“I have to apply my chemistry and chemical engineering education because I have to understand the chemistry of all of the impurities that come up from the ground in natural gas and how those constituents interact with each other. I also have to understand fluid dynamics, so this job is calling on everything I learned at Tech.”Read more about Lori.
CODY WEBB – CIVIL ENGINEERING
Cody started his career as a kid, overseeing construction projects in his back yard. At Tech, he’s gaining experience so he can take on the real thing after graduation. He plans to go into the construction industry and work to make our lives a little safer.
“Civil engineering is important in today’s world because everything is changing constantly. To me, that makes it our responsibility to be as safe and efficient as possible and to improve the quality of infrastructure for everyone.”
JOHN JARRETT, P.E., ’84 – CIVIL ENGINEERING
After graduation, John built a career in construction and engineering in Washington, D.C. He brought that experience back to West Virginia where he built his own successful construction company, Jarrett Construction Services, LLC, from the ground up.
“The rush that gets me going is seeing the delight in our clients’ eyes when we turn their new building over to them. Helping our clients determine what they need, how they can afford it and then bringing it all together is still what charges me up the most.”Read more about John