TABC Mechanical Engineer Raquel Sanchez and Aaron Chiang a civil engineer at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works spoke at the STEM Career speaker series for their “What Can I Do with a Major in Engineering?”
STEM Career Speaker Series was held Wednesday, April 29.
Both speakers were happy to help students get a better understanding of what being an engineer entails.
With Chiang being an engineer for the government and Sanchez being an engineer in the private sector, students were able to see the two options engineers have for employment.
Sanchez talked about women in the STEM workforce, “I am, most of the time, the only woman (on site)[…]Sometimes it does get lonely (being the only woman),” One of her reasons for speaking at college events such as this is to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM.
She added, “My work environment is pretty relaxed, but you have to be very careful because things are moving on the line.” She also mentioned that working for a company like TABC, which manufactures parts for Toyota, has it perks.
There are many company events such as safety month and environmental awareness month. There are also opportunities to travel to other Toyota manufacturing sites to work and collaborate on projects.
Chiang paints the public works side of engineering a bit differently, “We have to wear a tie, be there at 7 on the dot. It’s very bureaucratic.”
Chiang also mentions that travel is not a prominent aspect of working for the LACounty because most of his work has to do with sites in Los Angeles.
He added, “With Los Angeles county, I’m taking care of the Los Angeles River.”
Both engineers had career advice for the students such as start applying before you graduate, your GPA does matter if you have little to no experience and,”Don’t feel afraid to take something small, you take it because your new, if you know it’s going to help you learn than I think it’s worthwhile,” Chiang said about working your way up the ladder.
Students in attendance showed a lot of interest in the engineers, asking questions and taking notes.
Matthew Masoud, aerospace engineering major, said, “I usually brush off the STEM emails, but this event seemed to be a good opportunity to learn about my career […] It’s nice to talk to people who are actually in the field”.
The Career counselors Clara Ross-Jones and Allison Fujii were pleased with how the events turn out. Ross-Jones said, “I was glad that the students came and were very open to asking questions, even specific to their own situations.”
Fujii added, “What we really want to do is is connect students [to people in their field of interest].”