College and Career Diaries: Mechanical Engineering

Hello everyone,

I am excited to announce that I am starting a new series here on the blog called “College and Career Diaries.” I am going to interview people from all different majors and career paths to give my viewers the opportunity to learn from them.  My goal for this series is to help some of you gain insight on certain jobs you may want to pursue or to just learn the perspective of another person’s career.

The first person that I interviewed for this series is my friend Travis Slocum. Travis is a 21 year old, third year mechanical engineering major. Grab a cup of tea, and check it out:




Can you explain to me what a mechanical engineer does?:

A mechanical engineer is someone who works with mechanics. Anything that’s in motion. So, as far as doing a deep analysis on how different structures work, doing more or less material analysis…mainly anything in motion is pretty much their scope.

What aspect of mechanical engineering do you want to pursue and why?:

The aspect of mechanical engineering I’d like to pursue is a concentration in nanotechnology. The reason why is becauseI feel that in today’s society we’re moving towards things that are getting smaller, running faster, micro processors things of that nature. Specifically, what I want to work on is structural design of different nanotechnology devices. That pretty much requires programming and robotics background.

Have you had any internships and if yes how did you go about getting them?

I have had three total internships. All of them I have received at the National Society of Black Engineers conference. I received a fourth internship from a career fair at the university that I was attending, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I feel like those are the best ways and the best facets that you can use in order to obtain an internship from my experience.

Is graduate school necessary to be a mechanical engineer?:

I would say yes and no. As far as current day, masters degrees are now more or less the bare minimum that most engineers will need since so many people are graduating with bachelors degrees. We see now that a lot of students who do graduate regardless of their major are having trouble finding careers and jobs after they graduate. Masters degrees for engineering specifically make you standout a lot more.

Are you going to go to graduate school? Are you preparing for that?:

Yes,  I am preparing for graduate school right now. Matter of fact, I’m talking to a couple of professors for recommendation letters. However, the way that I want to pursue the rest of my professional career is whether I can get an offer by the time I graduate then I will try to go that route and pursue an MBA. Or if that doesn’t happen, I already have a masters in mechanical engineering for graduate school in the works.

What’s been your hardest class so far?:

The hardest class I’ve had so far is “Modeling Methods”.  Modeling Methods is primarily a class that has a lot of programming in it and understanding a lot of the functions and theories that were gone over in Calculus 1 through 3 and differential equations that weren’t really touched on…Very in depth when taking the class so you kind of have a learning curve there.

Do you have any study tips for engineering majors?:

Yes. It’s almost fundamental…that we learned back in grade school. Read the chapters before you get into class. By the time you get out of the class, make sure you devote at least two hours to each class that you have. Make sure you understand each of your subjects. Take good notes. See the TAs. Ask the professors for QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS. We pay for tuition, you might as well get the most out of our buck.

So we’ve heard so many stories about how difficult it is to be an engineering major, so how do you balance your academic life with your social life?:

The way that I try to balance out my academic and personal life is honestly with a schedule. Sometimes you kind of feel constrained or you feel like its kind of not necessary, why do I have to live by a schedule…However, when your able to actually schedule out your week and understand what you need to do, then you can find spaces where you have free time and then you can actually go out and do things you enjoy.

So how do you stay motivated in your field?:

I stay motivated in my field by joining different organizations that have different group projects, things that I’m interested in. So you can kind of touch on both academic and social at the same time, and still grow together within your field. Honestly just knowing that one of these days its going to pay off. It’s more or less self-motivation because you understand that you’re paying on this money for education and you shouldn’t take it lightly, you should take it seriously.

If you couldn’t be an engineer what would you be?:

If I couldn’t be an engineer, I’d probably work more with music. Music is my passion, so that is something that I’d have as far as a hobby. It’s more of a social aspect of my life that keeps me balanced with engineering. I would try to pursue something as far as music engineering or production.

Well guys, there you have it. I hope you all feel more informed. If you have any more questions for Travis let me know in the comments below.

Stay Fabulous,