ME Careers

Mechanical Engineering is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines.  Traditionally, a Mechanical Engineer would be the expert in the production and usage of heat and mechanical power which are critical in the design, production and operation of machinery.  Today, Mechanical Engineers have taken on an expansive and critical role across all fields — from automobiles to energy to medical devices — and in the advancement of new technologies, such nano-technologies and MEMS (MicroElectroMechanicalSystems).  The UMBC Career Services Center can you help you identify potential careers as a Mechanical Engineer.

Internships and Co-ops

As an undergraduate student, you also have the option to explore career opportunities before graduation through internships and co-ops.

Career Resources

ASMEFutureME logoThe ASMEFutureME website provides a Career Development Video Series that covers technical and career development topics which will give early career engineers the opportunity to learn from featured experts and professionals while exploring relevant technical concepts, industry trends and workplace development issues.

 

Career Cornerstone Center

The Career Cornerstone Center provides career planning resources in a variety of career areas, including Mechanical Engineering.

 

UMBC alumni

 

To give a better picture of the types of careers available to you as a Mechanical Engineer, presented below are brief interviews with UMBC ME graduates.

 

Oliver Meyers, PhDOliver Meyers

1994 – BS, 1996 – MS, 2007 – PhD Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

A.  I am an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Mississippi State University.

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities.

A.  I am involved with three primary research areas: Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) of Composite Materials, Morphing Structures, and Finite Element Modeling of Smart Material Systems.

NDE – One ongoing focus area of research is the use of multifunctional materials (initially magnetostrictive and developmentally piezoelectric) for actuation and sensing in non-destructive evaluations.  The curent preliminary experimental research project uses magnetostrictive particles (MSP) embedded in Alplex (elastomer composite) and Graphite/Epoxy beams to sense the presence of delaminations, debondings, and voids in those beams.  The magnetostrictive particles are excited by a surrounding magnetic field non-contacting excitation coil and the resultant sensing data is collected by a non-contacting sensing coil.

The overall goal of the proposed morphing structures research is to create and advance enabling technologies for – and, ultimately, design, build, and demonstrate – a seamless, aerodynamically or hydro-dynamically efficient, air or submersible vehicle capable of radical shape change. Morphing structures can change their shape to respond to or alter their environment.  Unlike mechanisms, which consist of stiff elements joined by kinematic links and actuated by external power sources, a morphing structure achieves its shape changing capabilities from within, without the need for an external mechanism and/or power source.

The ability to define and couple any number of arbitrary, linear and nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs) makes Multi-physics Finite Element Analysis (FEA) a unique tool for sophisticated modeling of cutting-edge applications. Its features and a range of other tools make it the perfect tool for today’s and tomorrow’s scientific research needs.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A.  There is no typical day.  My day combines research, teaching, mentoring and administrative duties as well as producing credible research topics, publications, proposals, and conceptual ideas.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

A.  Analytical & critical thinking, communication (technical writing to scientific peers, technical writing to non-scientific audiences), numerical/computational modeling, experimental eethods

Q.  How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?

A.  I had a variety of great mentors and instructors that guided my academic, research and career path.  UMBC is a very special place that allows to you succeed in a very open environment and learn from failures in a safe and nurturing environment.

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A.  Enjoy and explore the variety within the Mechanical Engineering discipline.  Mechanical Engineering is such a versatile major, that a graduate can find a wealth of opportunity in most engineering career fields.

Mariano MumpowerMarianoMumpower

2011 – BS Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

A.  I am a Mechanical Engineer with Key Technologies in Baltimore, MD.  Key Tech is a product development firm specializing in the design of complex electromechanical devices.  Our work can range from basic research and brainstorming on concepts to meet a design need, to user testing and iteration in an established design, to full scale development where we transform ideas into real products.  The products we design are mostly medical devices and scientific instruments, as well as some industrial and consumer products.

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities.

A.  As a mechanical engineer at Key Tech, my responsibilities include mechanical design, as well as testing and data analysis.  Because Key Tech is a multi-disciplined and team based engineering company, my responsibilities can also include collaboration with electrical engineerings, computer engineers, and industrial designers.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A.  Depending on the projects I am working on, a typical day could include everything from modeling parts and assemblies in SolidWorks, to running tests and collecting data on a prototype device, presenting design or test information to a client, creating quick breadboard mockups of an electromechanical system, or participating in brainstorming sessions to solve a particular design problem.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

A.  First and foremost is problem solving abilities and attention to technical details.  This problem solving skill is not confined to just mechanical systems, but more generally “out of the box” thinking where you can look at a problem from different angles and be open to different solutions, and then be able to evaluate those solutions based on application of engineering principles.  To be able to do that successfully involves having a strong background in all of the subjects that make up mechanical engineering.

Q.  How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?

A.  My education at UMBC provided a strong foundation in the mathematics, physics, and mechanical engineering principles needed for my work at Key Tech.  Through coursework, design projects, and internships, I learned the basics of the engineering process, and the theory needed to solve mechanical design problems, as well as the communication and teamwork skills needed to be an effective part of a design team.

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A.  Your coursework will be tough, you will end up living in the library or study hall at some point, and your friends with other majors will think you’re becoming a hermit, but you will be learning a discipline which can unlock a lot of personal satisfaction and great career potential so it’s all worth it.  While you study and complete your assignments, learn to love the problem solving process as opposed to just finding the right answer.  The skills that you will pick up when you challenge yourself to understand the topics, wok through the problems in a logical way, and communicate your solutions to others will really be the skills that make yo a good engineer.  Lastly, expose yourself as much as possible to other disciplines within engineering so you can understand and communicate effectively on design teams wit other engineers.

Lauren T. Buckler, P.E., CEM, LEED AP

LaurenBuckler headshot BW

2006 – BS Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

A.  I am the Director of the Office of Energy Performance & Conservation for the State of Maryland Department of General Services (DGS).

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities.

A.  The Office of Energy is responsible for the energy reduction, energy tracking, renewable energy portfolio and energy purchases for state government.  As the Director, I am responsible for all of these technical activities, along with the administrative duties for the office including staff and budget management.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A.  Every day is different, which keeps my job challenging and interesting.  A day could include meeting with a State Agency, reviewing their energy performance to-date, and discussing opportunities to achieve additional energy reductions or renewable energy options.  Another day could include reviewing proposed energy legislation to determine the impact to the Office of Energy.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

A.  Analyzing data, applying energy savings technologies and methods, and understanding how energy utilizing systems function; also communication (explaining technical information to a wide audience)

Q.  How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?

A.  I took an HVAC Design elective my senior year at UMBC, before that elective I planned to stay in the construction management field.  That elective eventually lead me into the design field which lead into the energy field.

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A.  The time I spend in undergraduate wasn’t easy; the work load was frustrating compared to my non-engineering roommates and friends.  But, I had a job before I graduated and it was a job I liked.  A degree in Engineering opens a variety of career options; there are opportunities to find a career you enjoy.

Renee Zak

Zak - medtornic2

2007 – BS Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

A.  I am a Test Engineer for Medtronic, a medical device company, working on Image Guided Neuronavigation systems.

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities

A.  I complete all verification and validation activities for the system software.   It ensures that the software meets the requirements of the design, reduces any potential user interface issues, and satisfies the needs of the customers.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A.  A typical day consists of reviewing requirements, writing test protocols, testing software, attending cross-functional team meetings for projects and making progress towards process improvements to streamline the test process.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

I think statistics is important for creating accuracy protocols in my position and understanding how to determine sample sizes and analyze data.  Otherwise, good technical writing skills are a must.

Q.  How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?  

A.  The engineering degree opens the door for a variety of positions even if they aren’t strictly “Mechanical Engineering” positions.  I believe I use the problem-solving skills that are learned over the college years mostly, and experience in project teams also helps with team synergy.

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A.  Mechanical Engineering is a great, broad discipline that provides a solid background for many different industries.  I enjoyed taking the Biomechanical electives and continue to enjoy working in the medical device industry.  I would also say to stay in school and get a Master’s degree even if you may not know what you are truly interested in because it will allow for a bigger salary regardless if it specifically applies to a position.