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The Surprising Thing My First Engineering Job Taught Me

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Claire, a recent graduate of Yale University, is the latest intern joining the Synectic team to gain real world engineering experience. Join us, as we sit down with Claire to find out what it's like to be a young female engineer and what her experience is like working at her first job out of college.

 

Claire, thank you so much for speaking with me and allowing everyone to get to know you better. First, let’s talk a little bit about your background and where you went to school.

CH: I grew up in Michigan, in the suburbs just outside Detroit. I moved to the East Coast when I started school at Yale University and I just graduated this past May with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

 

You must really love engineering to have a dual degree. What made you originally interested in engineering and especially your specific engineering concentration?

CH: I didn’t really have any exposure to engineering or what an engineer did before going to college. Growing up, I loved 

claire engineering intern working on the bench

learning about how things worked and since there was nothing like engineering in my high school, I fell in love with biology, anatomy and physiology.  That type of class interested me because it explained how the body, which was this incredibly complex machine, functioned.  When I went to college I thought I might end up in that field, but then I realized that I was less interested in traditional cell or small molecule research and more interested in the interface between the body and man-made technology.  My very first interests were in prosthetics and orthotics.  I started my biomedical engineering major because it seemed to encompass that intersection which I was excited about.  Once I got halfway through, I realized that all the electives I was taking were mechanically inclined and that I was really more interested in the design and function of the technology which interacted with the body, so I decided to add in the mechanical major.

 

With your background, you could intern almost anywhere. Why did you choose Synectic?

CH: I really liked the diversity of the projects that Synectic worked on and also the ability to see each piece of the design process, from first concepts to getting ready for production. The quick pace of the work here was also a big draw.  Also, I really loved the team.  Everyone is really knowledgeable about what they do, but incredibly friendly and open at the same time.  I have especially loved how everyone has been willing to help me learn the ropes considering this is my first position out of college.

 

claire engineering intern working in the machine shopClaire, we are so glad to have you here. How do you feel working at Synectic compared to your expectations of your first engineering job out of college?

CH: I honestly knew so little about what the day to day life of an engineer looked like until coming to Synectic. Coming here, I learned how, in consulting engineering, you get to be a little bit of a jack-of-all-trades.  That’s something that really appealed to me that I didn’t know I would have a chance to do.  I definitely expected more rote tasks in one specific area since I was new, but I’ve been really pleasantly surprised about how many different areas I’ve been able to be a part of.  Hand in hand with that, I definitely did not expect the number of new things I would learn in such a short period of time.  It has really helped me learn about which parts of engineering I enjoy more than others and also informed how I look at a product development cycle as a whole.

 

We are glad that your experience has been better than you anticipated and that working at has Synectic expanded your knowledge and skills.

CH: Working at Synectic has absolutely expanded my knowledge and skills. I feel like for all the theory a person can learn in school, you still have the majority of your learning to do once you actually start work on real projects.  I’ve felt extremely lucky that in just a few months, the team here has allowed to me to get involved in so many different areas of engineering from early concept and CAD work to testing and quality procedure.  I can say that my skills in every area I’ve been able to participate in have improved just by being able to be a part of the process and to make some mistakes and learn how to fix them quickly.Claire engineering intern working at her desk

 

When you are not hard at work, what do you like to do in your spare time? Any Hobbies?

CH: I’ve been sailing since I was young and did so competitively through college, so I love being on boats or around the water any chance I have. Other than that, I love reading so I’m always churning through a book and I’ve recently started getting into running.