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SME Speaks: My Freshman Year: Learning by Doing

 Morgan Montalvo

Morgan Montalvo
2013 SME Education Foundation Family Scholarship Winner
Member since 2013

Last year, I remember driving through campus on unpacking day, watching students riding bikes down the pathways, carrying dorm supplies twice their size and talking on the lawns. It was exactly how I imagined it feeling: hectic, exciting and new. The campus was alive with a unified energy, a unique mixture of anticipation for the opportunities and anxiety about all the change. This combination precisely describes my college experience thus far.

If there is one thing most people can agree about college, is that it is a time in one’s life with the most growth and development. I knew coming to college that one of my goals was to expand my experience, academically and socially, past my normal comfort zone. A majority of my time in high school was spent on activities, such as robotics and karate, which I had been participating in for over seven years. In college, I wanted to try new things while I still could.

So I began my college experience diving right into various clubs. In retrospect, it was probably not the wisest decision to sign up for over 10 different clubs, but I was just so eager to be engulfed into college life. After slimming down the list, I permanently joined networking clubs such as our student SME chapter, the Society of Women Engineers and AIAA. These clubs not only provided networking and tours, but I also did a lot of volunteer work. Although my goal was to branch out, I did end up reverting to my roots. I volunteered for SWE’s high school shadow day, which shows high school students the university and exposes them to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Also, I volunteered for the on-campus VEX Competition, giving back to the organization that started my journey toward an engineering career path.

Along with volunteer work, I joined SWE’s Team Tech, which is a research project team that works on a specific project for a company each year, competing with other universities nationally. This year, we were able to work with Walt Disney Imagineering in developing a confidential product, which has been an incredible learning experience. I am also on the Cal Poly Rose Float committee working on designing the 2015 Rose Parade Float. In Rose Float, I have been able to learn new skills, such as welding and practice machining, all while working in a team environment similar to robotics. Although Rose Float reminded me of robotics, I have also tried other things I never thought I would. There is so much to do on campus, and I am excited to see what project or group I will be involved in next!

As expected, with the list of things to do academically and socially, the balance between the two was the most challenging part of college. Since Cal Poly is on the quarter system, we hit the ground running in our coursework, so it was difficult to adjust to the fast-paced style. Initially, I spent a lot of time working rather than going out, but I slowly stretched beyond the usual routine of school work. As the quarter went on, I learned how to balance it all, but it has been a continuous learning experience. Thankfully, all of my efforts for time management paid off because I have maintained a similar GPA to what I had in high school, unlike what commonly happens to people in their freshmen year.

Frankly, if there is one thing that encompasses college, it would be learning (both inside and outside the classroom). My favorite aspect of Cal Poly is the hands-on learning it provides to the students. Currently, my favorite class is an industrial manufacturing engineering course where we learn about and practice drafting and machining. We are constantly perpetuating Cal Poly’s motto of “Learn by Doing” with all the work we do on lathes and mills. This is one of my classes in which I feel like I am truly preparing myself for my future career.

However, college is not only a time to discover new roads toward the future, but also to learn about who I am, or will become, as a person. For me, college is the next step toward my future and my future career path. With the help of the SME Education Foundation Family Scholarship, I have been able to move forward into the next stages of my life. The aid of this scholarship has not only allowed me to focus on my school work and various activities, but also on my own personal growth and giving back to others. Consequently, I have had an amazing freshmen year. Through the Foundation’s support, it has initiated and fostered a journey of academic education and individual learning. It is precisely this gateway toward my future that I graciously, and humbly, thank the SME Education Foundation for awarding me. ME

SME Education Foundation Outstanding Partners Announced

The SME Education Foundation recently recognized Honda America and SME member Dick Tiano with its Outstanding Partner Awards to recognize corporate and individual supporters that have given financially, and provided talent and time to further the work of the Foundation. Without its partners, it would be difficult for the SME Education Foundation to advance its mission to inspire, prepare and support the future generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists.

Dick TianoHonda of America was recognized for its continued support of the Foundation and its PRIME (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education) program throughout central and eastern Ohio. Honda was the first corporate partner to financially support the growth of PRIME and the National Robotics Challenge through which thousands of high school students from around the country participate. Honda is committed to advancing the future workforce in the manufacturing profession.

As chair of SME’s Greater Charleston Chapter 430 in Charleston, SC, Tiano, an SME member since 1986, is actively involved with the continued growth and planning of activities for the membership base throughout eastern South Carolina. He has worked closely with SME and the SME Education Foundation over the last three years in an effort to revitalize and energize the members of the manufacturing community in his area. Tiano continually mentors and volunteers at a handful of high school programs, including Wando High School, the Foundation’s PRIME school in South Carolina. He is recognized by his peers and staff as someone who genuinely cares about the next generation.

This article was first published in the July 2014 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.


Published Date : 7/1/2014

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