Studying Engineering

Adeeba Jafri

Adeeba Jafri

Adeeba is the author of several books including The Baby Garden, A Zoom with a View and Show Yourself.

“An optimist will tell you the glass is half-full; the pessimist, half-empty, and the engineer will tell you that the glass is twice the size it needs to me.” (Anonymous)

I am so excited about continuing this series! I had the opportunity to interview college students and graduates who have delved into the field of engineering. Each of their stories is incredible! I’ve spoken about it so much that my youngest has already committed to becoming a LEGO Engineer :). From petroleum, industrial, chemical, civil and environmental engineering, read through these stories and share them with your middle and high schoolers so they understand all different ways of studying this incredible and versatile field.

Name: Hassan Bukhari

School: 2019 Graduate of Hofstra University and Nassau Community College.

Major: Sustainability Studies & Engineering

What was your major about?

Civil engineering is leading a team that plans and builds roads, tunnels, and bridges; constructs massive buildings, airports, and transportation hubs; or designs and develops dams and complex water treatment projects. Civil engineering students follow a concentration in either structural or environmental engineering.

With my degree in Sustainability Studies, I went the environmental route.

Sustainability can be broadly defined as the wise use of resources now to ensure opportunities for future generations. Sustainability focuses on areas of economic and social equity and development and the environment. I studied a number of topics including renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, waste management, and urban planning.

How did you decide it was right for you?

I was homeschooled and that meant I was able to explore my options earlier and more freely than most. I researched and asked family members and friends about their professions and I managed to narrow down my options to engineering and pharmaceuticals by 10th grade. I was able to shadow my father who is an environmental engineer and my uncle who is a pharmacist. After both experiences, I felt that I gravitated more towards engineering.

Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs? 10 yrs?

My goal is to move to Turkey and help evolve and innovate their solar and geothermal energy sources and help move the country away from fossil fuels to a more clean and efficient power source.

What advice would you give to high school students?

My number one advice is to figure out what you want to do before you go to college so you don’t waste your first year trying to figure out what you want to do. College is expensive and it is in your best interest to get in with a game plan. Know your strengths and do your own research before you start college. Don’t rely on your school to provide you with a major/career path for you to follow. Ask your family and friends who went through it already to be able to find the most fulfilling path for you to follow. If you do find that you are unsure of your career path, don’t be afraid to ask for guidance and help!

Name: Hiba Ayub

School: 2018 Graduate of Stony Brook University (State University of New York)

Major: Materials Science & Chemical Engineering

Focus: Chemical Engineering

What was your major about?

Chemical Engineering is a field focused on process changes at the molecular and chemical level. ChemE is a versatile field where you can take your skills in many directions. This is because the major relies heavily on advanced calculus, physics, and chemistry. The classes you take prepare you for careers in process engineering, food science, pharmaceutical development, cosmetic chemistry, patent law, quality assurance, system operators, energy/oil processing and many more.

How did you decide it was right for you?

I thoroughly enjoyed Chemistry in high school. I also worked at the NY Hall of Science Museum during high school where I was exposed to the field during a career workshop.

Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs? 10 yrs?

I see myself writing and filing patents as a certified Patent Agent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I hope to be working with clients on finding ornamental formulations, designs, and processes to protect their intellectual property. I am currently working as a Paralegal at a Boutique Intellectual Property Firm writing and filing patents for Fortune 500 clients including Microsoft, Nike, Allstate, YETI and Kimberly-Clark.

What advice would you give to high school students?

* There are many majors that sound scary (especially as an underrepresented female). If you have drive and focus, you can delve into the unknown successfully. Try to find a mentor who can guide you along your high school/college career.

* There are many careers you have never heard about. Don’t stick to a field because it sounds cool or smart. I was exposed to Patent Law because I interned at a start up company in which we needed to patent a formulation for an all natural mosquito repellent. I would have never heard about the field if I hadn’t looked beyond the societal standards for what an engineer should be doing.

* The energy you have right now at this age is powerful so make friends and socialize, but also know when to work hard and gain experience. You will reap the rewards.

Name: Diogo Reis Heitor

School: Carleton University 24′

Major: Environmental Engineering

What is your major about?

Environmental engineers access the impact engineering projects have on air, water, soil and noise levels as well as safe ways to manage waste materials to protect the environment.

How did you decide it was right for you?

It was the one that interested me the most. With the climate issues the world is going through, I thought it would be a major where I could make a difference

Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs? 10 yrs?

In 5 years, I should be out of university and with the internship experience I hope to gain in university, hopefully I’ll have a great job. In ten years, I hope to have a Masters degree as well.

What advice would you give to high school students?

Do something that interests you and not because someone is telling you to do it.

Name: Nabeel Masood

School: 2012 Graduate of Texas A&M, College Station, Texas.

Major: Petroleum Engineering

What is your major about?

Petroleum engineering, in my view, is a discipline best described by the science and engineering required to find, extract and safely produce hydrocarbon to deliver energy.

How did you decide it was right for you?

At that time (2008-2012), the oil price was in its longest stretch of peak pricing. My father knew petroleum engineering would be the best and quickest route to reach my mid term goal, which was to break into the oil and gas industry. I generally knew that a STEM discipline played to my strengths and that eventually, I wanted to be part of the petroleum industry, but it was really my father who guided me on how to do it. Growing up in Qatar I witnessed first hand how energy security and access to affordable energy could accelerate a developing nation into the first world. I was motivated by the scale, pace and engineering marvels that underpinned these mega oil and gas projects. Being a part of a few these myself over the last 9 years has been fulfilling. Some of the projects I’ve worked on literally keep the lights, AC’s and heaters on for millions of people. The global nature of the industry resonates with my personal fascination with experiencing different cultures.

Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs? 10 yrs?

Very rarely do things work out exactly the way we predict. That’s not to say we shouldn’t have vision and goals, but I think what’s more important is the journey itself. Over the next decade, I see myself being a change agent in solving the challenge of delivering both affordable and clean energy. As a natural leader with a genuine interest in helping others reach their full potential, I envision developing teams that will help deliver the energy transition.

What advice would you give to high school students?

Develop a positive relationship with “failure” and don’t be afraid to fail. Too often we associate not achieving a goal or objective with a negative feeling. If you’re afraid to fail, you probably will fail. Think of it as you either succeed, or you learn. It’s a mindset shift that will enable you to elevate yourself to heights you may not have foreseen or break through barriers you have been struggling with. Strive for excellence in everything you do, no matter the field or scale of the task. Try to surround yourself with people that motivate you to be and do better, and feed off of each other’s energy. Never forget your supporters, especially those who were in your corner during your toughest moments. Finally, try to always remain inquisitive no matter what stage you’ve reached in your journey.

Name: Gehad Saber

School: 2015 Graduate of NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Major: Civil Engineering

Minor: Construction Management

What is your major about?

Civil Engineering is a major that includes everything from underground excavations to the topping off of the structural steels of the tallest buildings in the world. Civil Engineers can design and build structures such as buildings, bridges, water systems, and plan transportation projects. They are responsible for making sure the design works and is maintained. Civil engineers can also go into construction management which is overseeing the planning, design and the day to day construction of an infrastructure.

How did you decide it was right for you?

I knew Civil Engineering/Construction Management was the right major for me when I participated in a summer program my senior year in high school where we explored the different divisions of engineering. I enjoyed working on design projects and building structures from popsicle sticks that were put to the test when the professor would place books until the structure collapsed. I would find better ways to make my structure stronger and last longer. I later decided to minor in construction management so that I had the opportunity to graduate and go into working on a construction site as a field engineer. I wanted to be on the site overseeing the progress of the building and take part in the planning, financial management, and seeing the project from beginning to end. Engineering and specifically construction management is a diverse field with open opportunities. There is always a building being built, under renovations, or needs a new fit out.

Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs? 10 yrs?

In 5 to 10 years, I see myself as a Project Engineer or Project Manager on major projects in NYC or maybe even international projects.

What advice would you give to high school students?

My advice to high school students is participate in programs that interest you and would give you an opportunity to explore subjects that you’re not specifically being focusing on in school. Participate in classes at the museum or at different colleges offering programs for high school students. Don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals and ask them questions about what they do. The job field and all your future professional relationships all comes down to networking.

Name: Luke Crasto

School: 4th year at Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai Campus

Major: Industrial Engineering

What is your major about?

My major is a mix between mechanical engineering and business. The industrial engineering student gains knowledge in many different areas of industrial engineering, including, but not limited to, advanced manufacturing, distribution/logistics, ergonomics/human factors, modeling/simulation, and sustainable design and development.

How did you decide it was right for you?

I was never really interested in pure sciences. Eventually, I hope to become an entrepreneur and I think by taking this major it would help me achieve that.

Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs? 10 yrs?

Working with a steady income

What advice would you give to high school students?

Spend as much time as you need to figure out what you want to do it and what you’re passionate about.

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