MOSES LAKE — What students need to know to pursue a career in STEM fields was the topic of discussion during Engineering Night, sponsored by Big Bend Community College Thursday.
Engineers from around central Washington talked about their jobs in planning, structural engineering, hydro and electrical engineering, what’s good and bad about the field and what they’ve learned during their careers.
There’s a lot of emphasis on engineering, science, math and technology careers in education, and Dave Dormier said he thinks engineering is a good career choice. Many structural engineers are retiring, and the fields of electronics, chemical engineering and computer engineering “I think are going to boom,” he said. Dormier is senior engineer with Erlandsen & Associates, Brewster.
Engineering Night also featured speakers from REC Silicon, Grant County PUD, BBCC, East Columbia Irrigation District and Genie. Sharon Palmerton, public information specialist from REC, said it was important to get the word out about “the employment opportunities that are right here in Grant County.”
REC Silicon’s Sergue Iaprynstev showed a list of engineering undergraduate classes, and said students didn’t have to go to a four-year university to fulfill many of the requirements in the first two years of college. The same classes are available in other – and more affordable – places like community colleges, he said.
Gerry McFaul, PUD hydro engineer, said students should think about the money that’s going into a college education. They are, in essence, paying professors every time they go to class, he said, and they need to make sure they’re using their money wisely.
Veronica Guadarrama, the STEM lab coordinator, said the goal was to give students interested in an engineering career a comprehensive look at the field. Speakers were asked to talk about what they like about the profession and what they don’t like, how they got interested in engineering and the opportunities in the field.
David Vedder, electrical engineer at the PUD and Nathan Nofziger, Western Pacific Engineering & Survey, Moses Lake, talked about their jobs and some of the requirements in their specific fields.
Mateo Farmer, engineer with the irrigation district, James Sauceda, director of facilities and capital projects at BBCC, and Arturo Martinez, engineer at Genie, joined Iaprynstev and Vedder on a panel answering questions about the engineering profession, opportunities and training.
Colleges in the region had information available about their engineering programs and transfer options.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.