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Peace Young '12

Manufacturing Engineer, Boeing

Peace Young

I came to Smith because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go in the future; all I knew was that Smith was a place that would not only guide me to those answers but would challenge me to achieve beyond my bounds.

During the first semester of my junior year I was invited by one of my friends to a meeting that involved the Smith College Catering Service and the Smith College Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) chapter. I liked hanging out with my fellow Smithies and I was looking for an opportunity to find out more about ESW so when the opportunities aligned, I took it. I did not know that I would fall in love with the project that day and that the experience would eventually lead me to my first project management position.

As a project manager, with a diverse team of students from engineering, geosciences, economy, and environmental science and policy fields, my team and I were able to design, fabricate, and assembly the cargo section of a human-powered tricycle, or Cargo Cycle. The goal of the project was to provide a sustainable and affordable method of cargo transportation for the Smith College Catering Services.

My team and I were able to achieve this goal with guidance from Professor Denise McKahn, Lab Technician Sue Froehlich, and the machinists in the Center for Design and Fabrication (Smith College's machine shop). I liked learning the 3-D computer-aided design programs we used to design the cargo section, as well as handling the machines and tools we used to fabricate and assemble the cargo section in the machine shop. This experience became a direct qualification for my current manufacturing position. It also gave me a sense of accomplishment and was a source of a joy for me as our product helped Smith College Catering Services, where I worked as a server. With the project, my team and I were able to take a real-life problem and solve it. We worked together to help people and our community, which are the reasons I became an engineer.

The Picker Engineering Program was an integral to helping me reach my goals and obtain my current position. At the ending of my senior year I had the opportunity to meet John Tracey, the chief technology officer of The Boeing Company and senior vice president of engineering, operations & technology. I was hired on as a manufacturing engineer at Boeing in Portland, OR during my last month at Smith. As a manufacturing engineer, I compose and edit the operations used to make different parts on the Boeing 777 and 767 commercial airplanes. These operations must be to Boeing-design specifications and preformed by operators and machinists.

Looking back on the Picker Engineering Program and all that it has contributed to the achievements in my life is something that I do quite often. The program has given me the foundation to do the more specialized activities that I do at work, like how to read engineering technical drawings, calculate forces and moments, and understand the steps needed to solve an engineering problems. One of the top skills I learned in my engineering courses at Smith was how to communicate with a diverse technical team; interacting with groups to collaborate and problem solve is the biggest basis of my current work—you can't build a plane without teamwork and communication between engineering teams.