“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This question is one that is posed to students across the country and the globe. Sometimes it doesn’t seem so easy to decide when there are so many career paths from which to choose. Nevertheless, it is always worthwhile to explore different fields and opportunities as one starts studying and thinking about going to college.
Westpak was pleased to take part in the exploration of the testing world with high school seniors last week at our San Diego laboratory. San Diego State University’s MESA STEM Shadow Day gives students the chance to tour businesses and see Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in action. The students learn about what businesses do, what career paths there are in the organization, and what role education plays in all of it.
Our CEO & President, Ryan Craft, gave the students a tour of our laboratory, speaking with them about how Westpak is run and about his background in Mechanical Engineering. He discussed with them not only what we do but how we do it and what makes our business operate on a day-to-day basis. Reviewing Westpak’s foundation and beginnings, he introduced the STEM MESA 2m to our team and our laboratory. The students learned about all of our equipment, what types of tests are run, and for what purpose and results our clients engage with when they perform these tests.
Andrew Bevil, Engineering Services Manager, and Jeff Reid, Mechanical Engineer, lent their support in providing hands-on testing demonstrations and activities. The students were tasked with building packaging to protect their “product” (an egg) from a massive drop on our scissor lift. The students were asked to use different materials for their packaging. The students were charged with creating a packaging system that was the lightest weight or required the least amount of material so the egg would remain in tact after it was dropped. While some students opened up their packaging to find yolk everywhere, some of the students were pleasantly surprised to find their egg whole!
Students also designed and built packaging for a compression test. Their task was to construct a packaging system that would withhold the most weight when compressed by our equipment. The STEM students had to meet specifications to simulate real-world package design scenarios. While some of the packaging was dented and malformed, several of the packages withstood the compression and remained crush-free. We then discussed our strategies in the design and build to review together.
We appreciated the conversation we had with the students about their career goals and their upcoming studies at universities across the country. We were inspired by their out-of-the-box creativity and thinking. We are excited to see where their education takes them! Best of luck MESA STEM students!