Don’t Feel Constrained by an Engineering Degree


Choosing an undergraduate major as a mechanical engineer is an indicative marker of wanting to explore. At the same time, the flexibility and extensive applications of this major can make it challenging to pinpoint a career path.

Students are introduced to a variety of topics ranging from electrical, chemical, and computer science. How is one to choose where to apply their knowledge?

There are many competition teams that mechanical engineering students can join, but they require lots of time and commitment. Computer science majors have access to various schools and companies through hackathons but there wasn't a similar event that would allow mechanical engineering students to explore their interests. So, EFx MakerHack was born.

EFx MakerHack is a variation of a hackathon lasting 24 hours, but requiring students to make a physical prototype of their solution. Participants had access to the MakerSpace at NYU for any of their maker needs, while student section leaders and MakerSpace TA’s were available all night to assist as soundboards or with the machines.

When planning this event, our student section wanted to provide students a connection to ASME, the local community, and a network of leaders that are important to their development.

Working in collaboration with the DUMBO Business Improvement District (BID) provided an opportunity for myself and EFx participants to see the extent of what we can do with our technical background: The streets of DUMBO require an approximate five-year renovation that will impact the local quality of life, the health of DUMBO’s small businesses and the tourist experience.

Students participating in the EFx MakerHack were asked to develop a digital and/or physical prototype for a solution to mitigate these impacts for locals and visitors, as well as drive traffic to the small businesses during the difficult years ahead.

Technical solutions are needed for many current problems, like the one DUMBO BID is experiencing. As a mechanical engineering major I was always hesitant to say that I do not want to do research. But the best tool an engineer has is problem-solving skills.

The competitions we enter serve as experience to apply what we have learned and find solutions. Throughout this experience, I learned that I enjoy providing opportunities for others who are going through the same difficulties I once had and that I can take my problem-solving skills and technical background and not feel constrained to only work with typical “engineering” companies.

Rosaura Ocampo, a mechanical engineering student at NYU, recently took part in the ASME Executive Internship Program. 

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