Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Why Dreams Become Reality

Year 1987: A young child dared not to blink and miss a second of his weekly indulgence, as his heart beat rapidly, eyes gaped wide to watch in ecstasy as animated cars, trucks, planes and animals revealed themselves to be transforming “robots in disguise.” On screen a cartoon boy who wanted to be one of the heroic Transformers received an “exo-suit,” a robotic outfit that allowed him to transform like the others. At that moment, when millions of little boys knew they wanted to be GI Joe, and millions of little girls knew that they wanted to be Barbie, I knew that I wanted to be a Transformer, or at least build one of those make-you-the-coolest-kid-on-the-block transforming exo-suits. From that moment on, while other boys were playing GI Joe, building skyscrapers and dressing as Superman, I played with Transformers. I built Transformers. I dressed as Transformers. I collected Transformers.

Failed early attempts at creating my robotic masterpiece helped me to realize that if I wanted to achieve my goal, I would have to acquire the necessary knowledge. I developed a yearning to answer the questions: “How?” “Why?” and “What if?” Now as a fourth year student at the University of Alabama, I see my exo-suit – each screw, bolt, gear, circuit and transistor, yet I understand that I must acquire more knowledge to make my dream a reality.

Dreams such as these are the fuel that gives me the drive to complete my pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, with a minor in computer science. Upon graduation, graduate school is my next challenge to conquer. After I complete my graduate career I hope to work for a major southeastern company that is in need of a focused, hard working, well rounded, and people oriented mechanical engineer.

My career preferences have changed from being designer or tester of vehicles towards the design of automotive engines and the analysis vibration data. I would love to be on the leading edge of the production of new and innovative products. Having my input on machines that go faster and move quieter, but with less natural resources and pollution would be ideal.  As a professional engineer I hope to design automobile engines that would release the United States of its dependence on foreign nations for oil.  In the field of vibration analysis I may consider a career track that parallels and continues the work I currently do with helicopter vibration data. Analysis of this data is used to try to predict the break down of the drive train components before a catastrophic failure occurs in mid flight. Being part of the team that decreases future deaths from preventable helicopter crashes would be a rewarding occupation. Every gear and bearing that was pulled out of an aircraft means that there is an aircraft that did not fail in mid air and take the lives of its passengers.

At some point in my career I would seriously like to have the opportunity to work on transforming vehicles, such as those that convert from cars to boats, or work on a project dealing with some of the leading edge vehicle technology like mini-jets, mini-helicopters, military vehicles and passenger spacecrafts. Having a career in these engineering fields will present a different challenge each day. This challenge of the mind is a necessity; otherwise, I would dread to go work and do the same thing day to day; I want everyday to be an adventure and a learning experience. 

Year 2035: Men who watched GI Joe drive to work in their expensive cars containing the engines I designed and they bought; I drive to the beach in the exo-suit I built and smirk as it transforms from a sports car to a speed boat.