Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Failing the First Midterm in Engineering

Hey everyone, my name is Ash and I'm an undergraduate Mechanical Engineer in my junior year (which I believe is the hardest year). I recently just started blogging because I want to learn to organize my thoughts to express them intelligently, either on paper or face to face conversations. Now that I have introduced myself, let’s get started on this blog!

Today I wanted to bring up the topic of the "First Midterm Exam" that you take every semester as an Engineer. After taking my first three midterms for my classes this semester and straight up bombing them, I noticed there was a trend with me. I realized I always seem to fail the first exam for every class regardless if I have the same Professor. Now people are going to say, “oh that’s normal for many people because they get nervous”, but is that really the case? I mean sure everyone gets nervous during an exam, even if you did study the material long enough to feel confident, there is always going to be that fear of the unknown. You go in, then your classmates start shouting the information at your face which has nothing to do with the exam and then you start to doubt yourself.

Sometimes failing the first exam isn't a big deal since most professors make that the lowest percentage of your grade, but how does it affect you emotionally? For me, I heavily get discouraged for a good week or two which really impacts my focus in class. You get the feeling to change majors (maybe art?) and/or drop out because you feel like the disappointment isn't worth the trouble. I mean you start to wonder why you joined engineering because you feel that feeling like a failure is not worth it. Well everyone, it truly is worth it. As cheesy as this may sound you'll never be successful without failing. I'm sure you have heard from many people that it does not matter how many times you fail, but rather how many times you get up and try again and the strive you build to keep trying until you get it right. Yeah sometimes we wish we had a limitless pill on hand, but this isn’t a perfect world, so you have to fight for what you want. I'm still learning the ways of never giving up and it is not easy. Anyways to wrap things up I just wanted to send this message out to all my fellow engineers. Maybe some of you can relate to this and if you do, don't get discouraged keep going!

I want to thank Engineer Memes for letting me post as a guest. I really appreciate this opportunity to write for you guys. Thank you everyone at Engineer Memes.


This article was written by Ashikur Rahman a mechanical engineering student studying in New Jersey.

Leave a comment about your first test/midterm experience in engineering!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Starting Graduate School, but what courses to take?!

As some of you know I recently got accepted into the Masters of Engineering program (electrical engineering). I decided to pursue a Masters of Engineering over the Masters of Applied Science degree because I no longer have any interest in doing research and continuing my studies in nanotechnology. I have decided I want to pursue a career in working with power companies.

Right now I have been researching about what courses I want to take that would help me after graduation (plus my professor wants me to send him the list of courses I plan to take asap!). I want to work in the energy sector dealing with 'power systems'. Here is the list of courses I have been looking at:

1. Power System Analysis

Transmission and distribution; phasors, complex power; balanced/unbalanced three-phase operation; symmetrical components, sequence networks; voltage regulation; short circuit capacity; circuit breakers; transmission lines, series/shunt impedance; short, medium, and long line models.

2. Computer Applications in Power Systems

Power system monitoring/control; large networks; automatic generation control; optimum power flow calculations; traveling wave transmission lines; EMTP and MATLAB programs for transients, short-circuit, and transient stability analysis.

3. Power Systems Protection

Analysis of disturbances, security of power systems, cascading and blackouts; role and impact of protection; transducers and measuring elements; protection of transmission and distribution systems; protection of generators, substation equipment, special protection systems and relays. Optimization of Power System Operation Application of linear and nonlinear optimization methods in power systems; constrained optimization; optimal power flow; economic dispatch; electricity market; local prices for active and reactive power; security-constrained OPF; state estimation, reliability analysis.

4. Decision Support Methods in Power Systems Operation

Principles; acceptable regions of operation; energy management systems; load flow methods; static and dynamic security; contingency analysis; transient and voltage stability; on-line stability assessment.

5. Dynamic Modeling of Electric Machines and Controls

Numerical aspects of time-domain simulation are reviewed. Dynamic modeling and analysis of power systems components including transformers, induction and synchronous machines, inverters, electric drives and associated controls.

6. Advanced Power Systems Analysis

Computer-oriented analysis of electric power systems with regard to multiphase line constants, steady-state analysis of single and parallel circuits, lightning and switching surges; large-scale solution of power-flow problems; optimal real and reactive power flow.

7. Advanced Power System Control and Dynamics

Synchronous machine modeling; excitation and speed governor systems; enhancing power system damping through excitation or governor control; linear optimal stabilization of power systems; load shedding, generator dropping and other emergency measures; asynchronous operation and resynchronization; nonlinear stability; power-frequency control.

8. Energy Storage Systems - Super Capacitors

Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage. Pumped Storage. Other possible technologies. System modeling and control.

Which of these courses would you highly recommend for someone who wants to go work for power companies and why? I have a rough idea of which courses I will be taking, but I want to confirm that they are the right courses to take. Leave a comment on what you think of these courses and why they are good to take. Thank you!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Dealing With Rejection… During an Interview

Looking for a co-op or internship is a lot like dating. You dress up, you meet new people in your field, and you try to convince them to pick you by highlighting the qualities that they are looking for. Sometimes things don’t work out. And whether it’s after the first meeting or the last round before making it official, getting rejected from a job opportunity you really wanted hurts. Here’s my horror story:

When I entered college I was an industrial engineering major interested in consulting. My freshman year I had an interview with a company I was really excited about. The on-campus interview went wonderfully. The interviewer seemed as excited as I was about the possibility of me coming to work for their company, and I got an email inviting me to interview at their offices the next week. I was told during my initial interview that they were continuing the process with the top four candidates from the on-campus interviews, so naturally I was ecstatic.

I arrived at the company’s offices dressed to impress and eager to please. After being called into the interview room, I met with the person I had interviewed with on campus. He was excited to see me and dove right into the first part of the interview. That part went as well as the on campus one had, and my heart was racing in the best possible way. I was one conversation away from landing a consulting gig at 18 that would lead me to what I imagined would be a glamorous career in consulting. The door opened and a middle aged man walked into the room. He gave his name, his position within the organization, and a bit about himself and where he went to school. He took one look at my resume and snorted at my GPA (3.4). Then he asked me, “What leadership roles have you held?” I started listing my roles from high school, and he stopped me. “What have your leadership roles been in college?” I paused. I had a leadership position in one of the clubs, but it was more of a prep position because the guy who held it was graduating that spring. As I thought about how to respond, my interviewer got up, walked out, and slammed the door.

I cried when I got back to my dorm after the interview. I was scared, scared that I was not employable despite having a good GPA from the #1 IE program in the country. What was wrong with me? What made me less desirable than the other girls on my floor, who by that time had all secured co-ops and internships with great companies? It wasn’t until I had landed a job with another company that I figured out it was him, not me. Like in dating, everyone is looking for something different. Some people are super picky, and there’s no sure-fire way to get around that. Just because you get rejected doesn’t mean you will end up alone or unemployed. The best thing to do is to dry clean your suit, practice your lines, and get back out there. When the right position comes along, you (and your new employer) will know. And then you’ll be so glad it didn’t work out between you and What’s-Their-Name.

This article was written by Virginia Dobson. She is a 4th electrical engineering student and in the honors program at Georgia Tech. She has done three coop rotations and was asked by her employer to do a fourth term with a major automation firm. As well, Virginia Dobson has experience in interviewing potential coop candidates with her bosses.