• Question: Is there a need for a university graduate to go back to basics and actually get his hands dirty before he can master a specific engineering discipline?

    Asked by SWAG1 On The Mic. to Olivia, Fe on 13 Mar 2015.
    • Photo: Felicity Harer

      Felicity Harer answered on 13 Mar 2015:

      I think it makes a lot of sense to do that. I spent 2 weeks building Defenders and that taught me so much! Reckon in an ideal world all graduates would spend a couple of months working on some sort of project somewhere with very few resources so they could really get creative 🙂

    • Photo: Olivia Stodieck

      Olivia Stodieck answered on 16 Mar 2015:

      Yes, I also think that getting your hands dirty is really important (and can be really fun!). I worked as an aircraft maintenance technician one summer at university. It was great to be able to see the technology up-close, I mean the stuff you don’t normally get to see when you’re a passenger. The structural components, the electronics and the systems. For example, this is how I found out that in some older aircraft like the Boeing 747, there are actual tensioned wires between the cockpit and the controls on the wing and in the tail, so that when the pilot moves his control stick the wires mechanically transfer the movement to the different control surfaces… I thought that was pretty smart engineering! It gives you a sense that you’re working on something real and that your work is important. Of course, during that internship I also learned where the stuff you flush down the toilets on board goes – it all gets nicely stored in a smelly container and I wouldn’t wish anyone to get their hands dirty in that case!