One of many ways we celebrate the contributions of our employees in February is through a week-long celebration known as E-Week. Since its launch in 1951, the purpose of E-Week has been to ensure a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers.
Many of you joined us earlier in the month as we spoke with these five engineers who have used their expertise to contribute to Duke Energy Nuclear. Read the first part of their interview here.
What inspired you to work in a STEM field?
David H: The joys of problem solving. The many opportunities that are presented to you to be a part of local and global change.
Charlotte: I’ve always enjoyed math and science and I had a curious mind on how/why things worked the way they did. I used to take my toys apart just to put them back together. In high school, my chemistry teacher said I should look at technical careers which is when I started looking at careers in engineering.
Jhamal: I have always held a strong curiosity of how things work. From an early age, I would watch documentaries on space and physics. As soon as I’d watch a Saturday morning cartoon, I’d take apart my toys to determine “how they worked” often failing to put them back together. I had sketchbooks full of machines I wanted to make. While exploring this curiosity I learned of the engineering profession and decided that’s what I wanted for myself. So, I pursued it. Easier said than done, but as my grandfather once told me anything worth having is hard to get.
Rick: When I was a teenager (around 2002), I never heard of the acronym STEM and I really didn’t not know what an engineer was. I was told the career possibilities are endless as an engineer, plus I loved hooking up electronics and car stereo systems at the time so, for me it seemed like the best route to take.
David W: I was inspired to work in a STEM area based on my college education within the engineering field and my general curiosity to know how and why things operated.
What made you become interested in engineering?
David H: To be honest, engineering kind of fell into my lap. In high school, I knew I loved math and science, so I went to college to pursue a math degree, thinking I would work as a statistical analyst or a math teacher. A program/opportunity presented itself to obtain two degrees, one in mathematics and one in electrical engineering. I jumped on the opportunity and have been loving engineering ever since.
Charlotte: I chose mechanical engineering because it just made sense to me. Moving parts, pumps, motors, etc. and understanding how they work was interesting to me.
David W: I become interested in engineering early in my childhood while watching the NASA space program on TV, as several of the astronauts were engineers. Later in my young adult life, I became increasingly interested in engineering when I spoke with my science and math teachers at my local high school.
What advice would you give the next generation of black engineering students?
David H: Be proactive in your pursuit of your goals. Nothing will be handed to you, it’s up you to make your dreams happen. Do your homework/research. Seek out multiple sources before coming to a decision/solution to a problem.
Jhamal: Build relationships with the faculty at your school and look for opportunities to participate in their research. If that doesn’t work, try to create your own opportunities. For example, if you have an idea that solves a problem go out and try to make it a reality. I bet you’ll learn something in the process.
David W: Never stop reaching for your dreams. Your dreams will fuel our future. Lastly, put in the hard work. It will pay great dividend for you and your future.
Read the first part of their interview here.
At Duke Energy
Duke Energy is committed to supporting diversity and equality in the workplace and the communities it serves. The company works to create an environment of advocacy that supports Duke Energy's effort to attract, develop, engage and retain a diverse workforce. The company has a strong network of Employee Resource Groups, including Advocates for African-Americans (A3), which provides educational and recruitment support to attract, retain and engage African-American talent.