As the STEAM agenda has definitely picked up locomotion around the world, albeit with a bit of ease considering the allure of technology and science involved in aspects like 3D design and 3D printing, it’s apparent also that if students are going to be enticed to go into areas like math, science, and technology—and if girls are going to be encouraged to study for engineering degrees more often—they need something very important and also very effective: role models.
While career fairs are also a great idea, giving older students on the cusp of graduating the opportunity to actually speak with those who are in fields they are considering, seeing other young people who have succeeded within careers related and relevant to STEAM is a huge motivator—and especially when they are featured in a major magazine honoring their feats before they’ve even hit the ripe old age of 30. Now that’s some positive press.
It’s an annual event, reading the 30 Under 30 list by SME, published by Manufacturing Engineering, going on four years now. And these superstar upstarts, all 30 of ‘em, are making a splash—and a difference—in the fields of STEM and manufacturing. Certainly not careers of the past, new technology and a long list of individuals and companies making innovations one after the other have breathed new life and status into the sector, as well as career paths.
There were over 100 applicants spanning industries like automotive, aerospace, additive, medical, automation, and robotics. According to Katelyn DaMour, digital editor at Manufacturing Engineering, that’s the most applications they’ve ever received. The men and women chosen were deemed to have shown not just hard work, but also excellence in their fields.
A few highlights from the list follow.
Matt Mckee, 29, is interested in structured light and how it applies in virtual manufacturing. Seeing it as a critical tool for the future, he has become familiar with it in working as a technical lead at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. His title is senior applications engineer, and he works on the F35 fighter jet program.
“It’s made huge leaps, especially in the last five years and is gaining in adoption,” said Mckee. “The leaps it is taking are finer accuracy, faster refresh rates and a larger field of view. Everyone wants it better, faster and cheaper.”
He is also very interested in human immersion and augmented reality. A tinkerer and a problem-solver type from a young age, McKee urges other young people to take on ‘stretch projects,’ tackling work that might be a bit out of their comfort zone.
“I was given the opportunity to work on a couple of those at Lockheed,” says McKee. “One was related to improving wiring harness fabrication, and another was related to developing a method for applying a new adhesive tape to complex surfaces for production use.”
Hannah Kalinowski, 28, always had a fascination with airplanes, but the desire to be an engineer didn’t really click until later. With an aptitude for math and science, she achieved a degree from Marquette University and was then hired by Boeing. She was nominated for the 30 Under 30 because of excellence and her tendency to exceed expectations in her career. One of her main projects has been the ground floor implementation of new noncontact metrology technology. She became an expert in terms of the equipment, and also created a way to translate raw data from the project.
“Collecting data is just one thing,” Hannah said, “but if you can’t do anything with that data, or you can’t drive any results or changes from it, then it’s really not all that useful. I think we were able to really show the value of how that data could help us drive changes.”
She is now working in the Airplane Development division on a new version of the 777, the 777X. Her responsibilities include making sure that the new production system is implemented correctly, as well as working on tolerance analyses.
Fabian Bartos earns special note on this list as he is only 16, and the youngest honoree. He currently attends East Leyden High School and is extremely involved in 3D printing, going so far as to fabricate a replica of the White House which he was actually able to present to President Obama during an educational event for makers. He’s made numerous, complex architectural models, as well as well as working with one of his class teams in a project for e-NABLE. The team made a prosthetic hand at the 3D printer and gave it to an adopted boy from China in need of functional limb replacement.
He’s rather famous at his school for his accomplishments, going far beyond the normal scope of his assignments and producing projects with impressive detail.
“It fascinates me how you can design something on a computer and then you can hold it in your hand,” he says.
Sean Sullivan, 30, currently works for Siemens Industry in Tacoma, WA. He is a CNC application engineer for their Motion Control Business, and according to those who work with him, he has made a ‘huge impact.’
Sullivan works with many different applications in manufacturing, but more specifically with OEMS in Siemens technology, designing software, developing training, and helping with end-user technology project planning. He has always been interested in manufacturing, and credits his career success with having mentors when he was younger.
“I enjoy the value generation inherent in manufacturing. I knew it was the right path for me after seeing this process in action,” Sullivan added. “I’ve had the opportunity to visit factories all over the country and see firsthand the valuable jobs and standards of living manufacturing provides to communities in addition to the products created.”
Kaylie Crosby, at a mere 23, is busy keeping everyone on their toes at The University of Alabama. Currently, she is the project manager for the university’s team in the EcoCAR 3 Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition.
Unusual in its length, and undoubtedly more challenging, the competition lasts four years. Students from 16 universities have been asked to remake the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro to be more efficient all around—and yes, the challenge is sponsored by the US Department of Energy and General Motors.
In the first year, Kaylie’s team won several awards, and she received the Excellence in Leadership Award.
“Have a short conversation with Crosby,” says Kristen De La Rosa of Argonne National Laboratory, “and you’ll quickly realize she is wise beyond her years with a rare mix of ambition, engineering know-how, leadership qualities and work ethic that all but guarantee she’ll be successful in her career.”
Andrew Siwicki is 23, and he may perhaps feel that he’s already had a pretty big lifetime achievement in helping to program the robotic piano Lady Gaga played at this year’s Grammy Awards, a story we much enjoyed following previously. He became interested in automation when working in the Caterpillar Integrated Manufacturing Laboratory lab at Illinois State University.
“Just being in those classes within my degree was a big eye opener,” he says. “The classes we did were exactly how it is in the field today.”
Working as a field service engineer at ABB, Inc. in Auburn Hills, MI, Andrew works in a variety of different applications related to robotics, and he is known for being professional and offering superior work. If he was good enough for Gaga, we’re figuring he’s certainly good enough for the 30 Before 30. In regards to the project, he said:
“The idea was kind of out there, but we trusted her and she was right—it was awesome. Working with a robotics system is incredibly rewarding. It’s amazing to see what robots can do.”
The entire list of 30 are named here:
- Aaron Birt, 26, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts
- Amber Williamson, 28, Baxter Healthcare, Mountain Home, Arkansas
- Andres Valdez , 25, Global Shop Solutions, The Woodlands, Texas
- Andrew Siwicki, 23, ABB Inc., Auburn Hills, Michigan
- Anselmo Gallegos, 27, General Motors, Detroit, Michigan
- Ashley Buchner, 30, FCA US, Auburn Hills, Michigan
- Austin Hall, 27, HDH Manufacturing, Indianapolis, Indiana
- Caroline Richardson, 27, Abbott Point of Care, Princeton, New Jersey
- Daniel Tunis, 25, FCA US, Auburn Hills, Michigan
- David Kriesberg, 22, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
- David Zwick, 22, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
- Denise Karabowicz, 25, Thales Visionix, Inc., Aurora, Illinois
- Edward Brabandt, 30, Systematic Manufacturing, Inc., Sterling Heights, Michigan
- Fabian Bartos, 16, East Leyden High School, Franklin Park, Illinois
- Graham Hargreaves, 30, CNC Software, Inc., Tolland, Connecticut
- Hannah Kalinowski, 28, The Boeing Company, Everett, Washington
- Jacob S. Larson, 22, John Deere, Waterloo, Iowa
- Joseph Prosnitz, 27, Prosnitz Solutions/Up-Ride, Skokie, Illinois
- Justin Wenning, 23, Fabrisonic, Columbus, Ohio
- Kaylie Crosby, 23, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
- Long Phan, 27, United Grinding, Miamisburg, Ohio
- Madeline McCloughan, 24, 3M – Industrial Adhesives & Tapes Division, St. Paul, Minnesota
- Matt McKee, 29, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Fort Worth, Texas
- Matthew R. Kelly, 24, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana
- Nick Raymond, 28, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California
- Perry Parks, 28, Siemens PLM, Cypress, California
- Sean Sullivan, 30, Siemens Industry Inc., Tacoma, Washington
- Teresa Munger, 30, Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford, Connecticut
- Troy Wallace Pierson, 18, University of Alabama – Incoming Freshman, Mission Viejo, California
- Whitney Hill, 30, The Boeing Company, Everett, Washington