Erika Healy, Hammond, Indiana
Making a difference
I’m very people-oriented. I want to be a sales engineer. I’m going to sell parts and make a bigger impact with customers because I’ll have the knowledge of the systems, integration and automation. I can stand out among my competition. The Thirst Project at Purdue is also a big passion of mine. We are raising awareness and funds to help solve the global water crisis. I would like to start a non-profit someday to end it.
My major deals with automation and powering the ideas that mechanical engineering technologists come up with. We work more with assembly than conceptualizing products. We are integrating designs into real-life, workable products. I like to take the product to the line and use the programmable logic controllers, which are computers that talk to each other to move the assembly line and monitor sensors. It’s hands-off technology in a hands-on major, and it’s really cool. Even though it was challenging at the time, looking back on it, my MET 10200 (Production Design And Specifications) class really prepared me for my internships. We learned how to design and model on the computer. And our scavenger hunt final project challenged me to think outside the box. None of our questions could be Googled so we had to do real research do find our answers. When I can overcome a challenge, that’s fun for me.
The courses for manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology are the same for the first two years, so you have some time to figure out which is best for you. MFET is even more so hands-on than MET with more projects. Our professor is always telling us that so many companies want to hire MFET graduates. I saw this firsthand when I went to the Rockwell Automation Fair. Every company representative that came by our booth handed us business cards and said they were looking to hire MFET students.
MFET students, along with our professor, come up with a project to take to the Rockwell Automation Fair each year. This past year, we made an automated cornhole game machine to take with us to Philadelphia. Players throw bean bags at one of three holes, and depending on which hole the bag landed in, you got a different prize. The whole process was automated with sensors. It was a big hit.
Two summers ago, I worked with Eaton as a design engineer in their aerospace group in Maryland. I helped design catalog airplane seals using Pro-Engineer and CATIA. The technology and labs I was exposed to at Purdue put me a step ahead of my fellow engineering interns. I was asked, “You can do the computer work AND this?”. This past summer, I returned to Eaton as a sales engineer intern.
The power of Purdue
Purdue has so many resources, if you utilize them correctly, there’s no limits to what you can achieve. The faculty and staff in the College of Technology really care. It is a close-knit atmosphere; I feel like I’m at home when I come into Knoy Hall (the college’s main building). I feel a sense of belonging here.