Alex Heiman is a senior mechanical engineering major. She and I have been friends for years, and I find her story and passion for her studies inspiring and noteworthy. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and discussing her experience as a mechanical engineering student at Grove City College. I hope that if this major intimidates you and you have hesitations about pursuing it, you will find her words encouraging. On the other hand, if you simply want to gain more information about what the college experience of a mechanical engineering major looks like, I hope you will find her responses relevant and helpful.
What made you decide to study mechanical engineering?
The biggest influence on my decision to become a mechanical engineering major was my dad. He pushed me in this direction. I saw what he was doing as an engineer and I gained interest. It also helps that I enjoy math and science, and wanted to pursue a major that featured these subjects.
What do you enjoy most about being a MECE (Mechanical Engineer)?
I enjoy the tight community of engineers on campus. It is such a blessing to be able to go to anyone in my class and ask questions about homework. I have become very close to my classmates, especially after studying abroad. I also enjoy the challenge of my major and solving the complex problems I am required to solve.
How have you been challenged most as a MECE?
I have been greatly challenged by the professors at Grove City College. They all are great teachers, and push me to understand theory behind concepts and not simply plug numbers into a formula. This has been something that has really pushed me to dig deeper and understand more.
What professor has stood out to you most?
Dr. Clauss, only female MECE professor, has had a great impact on me. She exemplifies what a smart, professional woman in engineering looks like. She is very passionate about what she teaches, and greatly cares about her students. She is very well informed and is very helpful during office hours, even with tasks like scheduling.
You had the opportunity to study abroad your fall semester junior year. Would you recommend studying abroad?
Yes, I definitely would. Studying abroad was a life changing experience, and was the best semester of my college journey. I greatly enjoyed experiencing other cultures and traveling for a great price. I was also able to grow closer to my fellow peers, and the engineering community with the other students who studied abroad. One of my favorite memories from studying abroad was when I traveled to Nice, France. The beautiful scenery and fun activities (such as going to a Christmas market and riding a Ferris wheel) made for a very memorable trip.
Can you talk a little bit about what its like to be a female engineering student?
When I first came to Grove City College, I was nervous because I knew there weren’t a lot of girls in the program. This intimidated me. As the years went on I grew closer with my peers. These relationships especially grew when I studied abroad. Now, I feel comfortable with my major and my ability, thanks to my professors and relationships with fellow students.
What advice do you have for students who are looking to study mechanical engineering?
I would say that engineering is a rewarding major. However, it is difficult. As long as you are motivated, driven, and work hard, you’ll be just fine.