SME Speaks: Real-Life Experiences Shape First Year
By Chris Webb
2012 SME Education
My first year of college at the University of Arkansas was amazing! Whenever I see my family or high school friends, they always ask how college is going. After a lot of thought, I finally figured out my perfect response. “Attending the University of Arkansas has been the best decision I have ever made.” It’s simple and precise.
My first few weeks were the most difficult. Coming to college was a huge change in my life. As an only child, it was overwhelming starting out in a dorm environment. My dorm isn’t the largest on campus, but it was still a different feeling knowing that there are more than 100 people living with me. Walking down the hallways, there were always people talking and hanging out at all hours of the day and night. During my second week, I was still in the process of trying to find more friends, so I mentioned to my roommate something I saw online — “hallway putt-putt.” That afternoon, we went to a local Goodwill and bought some golf balls and a few putters. We taped a few red plastic cups to the ground and started putting. Our cheering, as a ball went into the cup, brought people out of their rooms and putting themselves. That day was the first time I finally felt comfortable in college.
I came to college with a social and educational plan. I knew it was going to be different than high school. While in high school, I went to school, worked every day and then went to robotics. I barely had a social life outside the people I saw in class, work and robotics. I rarely had homework, and the little homework I did have, would be completed as soon as I got to class. My new college plan involved being more social, but also still having time to study. This first semester plan worked fine. However, second semester I knew I had to fix a few parts of the plan. I needed to involve more study time away from distractions, such as friends and electronics. So far, this edited plan has worked very well during my second semester.
Going to class was never a problem. There were a couple of classes that I didn’t enjoy; the rest were just fine. Because freshman year is just the basics, almost everyone is in the university core classes. During orientation, I was informed that “Chemistry for Engineers” would be an easy, beginner-level chemistry class. They were wrong. If any class was going to be my undoing, it was going to be that class. Fortunately, in the end, I passed. I was relieved when I saw that I only had to take one chemistry class to graduate and that I was done with it.
My favorite classes have been my freshman engineering program classes. These classes are supposed to help students figure out what type of engineer they want to become. My first semester topic was robotics. In this class, we learned how to program Lego robots, and how to think of different ways to complete a project with these robots. Because I am a FIRST Robotics alumnus, my teacher immediately liked me. After the first class, I spent 20 minutes talking about the FIRST program. I learned she was in charge of judging the FIRST Lego League Competition at a local high school. She invited me to be a judge for the competition. My second semester was a structures class with the same teacher. In this class, we built and designed balsa wood towers. We also worked on resume and interview skills. During the second semester, we were finally allowed to make decisions on our majors. I have subsequently decided that I want to become an industrial engineer.
Since coming to the University of Arkansas, I have participated in activities to help me become a better person. I have done things that I never thought of doing in the past. I became a founding father of the Beta Theta Pi colony here at the University of Arkansas. I am on the Brotherhood Events Committee, where I help create brotherhood bonding experiences. I gave back to the program that helped me become the person I am today by judging a FIRST Lego League Competition.
This scholarship has affected me to the point that it has led me to do things I never thought would have been possible. It gave me hope for my future. This scholarship has allowed me to focus on school, my fraternity and me as a person. I have learned a lot in my first year here at the University of Arkansas. I cannot thank SME and the SME Education Foundation enough for all that they have done to help me. ME
21 High-Performing Chapters Recognized
SME is pleased to announce the winners of its Annual Chapter Award Recognition. Twenty-one high-performing chapters were recognized with awards for meeting standards of success set by SME’s Chapter Enhancement Committee. Winners were awarded gold, silver or bronze status based on four categories of success: advancement of manufacturing, merit, professional development, and communication to members and the community. Requirements for the categories range from interaction with other chapters and community outreach to maintaining current websites and social media pages. The following chapters have achieved recognition:
Chicago Chapter 5
Elmira Chapter 24
Kansas City Chapter 57
Cleveland Chapter 3
Seattle Chapter 39
Silicon Valley Chapter 98
Greater Charleston Chapter 430
Hartford Chapter 7
Columbus Chapter 36
Wichita Chapter 52
Atlanta Chapter 61
Madison Chapter 75
Memphis Chapter 105
Ozark Chapter 139
Lexington Chapter 154
Southern Piedmont Chapter 182
Orange Coast Chapter 233
Northeast Arkansas Chapter 246
Mid-Missouri Chapter 287
Southern New Hampshire Chapter 327
North Bay Chapter 431
This article was first published in the July 2013 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.