What is it?
If you enjoy learning about circuits and computers, then electrical engineering might be for you! This branch of engineering is one of the newest, dealing with electronics and systems that use electricity. With a degree in electrical engineering, you will work to improve electrical and communications systems in many different industries!
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Meet an Expert
Graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering
Master's in Engineering Management
Lead Nuclear Engineer for Norfolk Naval Shipyard's (NNSY) Control Engineering Division
Mentor for junior engineers
Expert Q + A
What led you to choose electrical engineering as your career?
I grew up near the St. Louis area around many engineers and architects. My grandfather, my uncle, and my Godmother are just a few people that introduced me to the world of engineering. Although I specifically chose electrical engineering after doing a school project in 6th grade to research career fields we were interested in.
What is your favorite part of the job?
The people. For any job, the people can make or break you. Fortunately, I have a strong support system filled with people who genuinely care for me, as I care for them.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career?
The people. As I previously stated, the people can make or break you. Some people can be great. Some people, not so much. Not saying that they're bad people, but some people aren't as competent as others and are horrible at communicating. This leads to a negative work environment and causes unnecessary work stoppages.
What kind of education, training, or background does your job require?
Bachelor's in Engineering or equivalent to get in. Initial and continuous training is provided by my job.
What are your main responsibilities as a electrical engineer? What kind of problems do you solve and what decisions do you make?
My job is to create and approve technical work documents to instruct mechanics how to perform work on electrical systems related to the nuclear plant aboard navy nuclear-powered carriers and submarines. I spend most my day reading; some of it is spent typing; the rest of the time, I'm on the boats.
What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to success as a electrical engineer?
Any engineer has to find enjoyment in reading and writing. As we always say, "the devil is in the details." You have to become well practiced at researching and compiling what you find in a document in a timely manner.
Describe a typical day at work.
I attend 2-3 meetings a day that last 30 minutes to an hour. Most of my meetings are first thing in the morning, so I usually get to work 30 minutes before my first meeting to prepare for the day by reviewing whatever work was performed the night before. The rest of my day, I'm reviewing/writing paperwork to be issued, answering phone calls for new problems, and performing surveillances on work that was recently completed.
What current issues and trends in electrical engineering should girls who are interested in the field know about?
There's a huge initiative right now focusing on creating a path for more women to be in leadership positions. This would be a good thing if it weren't for the fact that this had led to some women being pushed into positions that they didn't necessarily work as hard or as long for as their male counterparts, and, in some cases, the women were completely unqualified for the job.
What advice would you give a tween/teen girl who is interested in becoming a electrical engineer?
Get involved in local STEM camps as young as possible. Many colleges and non profit foundations host these types of camps every summer. And don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. Hands-on learning is the best learning.
Interested? Try This!
In this craft, you will be building a circuit of lemon batteries that can create enough power to light up an LED! But how could a lemon possibly be a battery? You can find out in this project, where you'll learn about conductivity and electric current while building your very own working circuit!
In this craft, you will be building your very own wigglebot. But what is a wigglebot? This simple wobbling robot has markers for legs - so when it shakes, it can draw cool pictures! While doing this project you will be handling motors and batteries, helping you learn about the principles of electrical engineering.