Joseph Mosley and Erika Smith are problem solvers.
That is the key focus of their careers in engineering at the Kentucky Department for Transportation. And last week, they shared information about their jobs, education and career opportunities, and available scholarship information with Harlan County High School juniors and seniors interested in similar careers.
Mosley, a graduate of Cawood High School, and Smith, a graduate of Clay County High School, met with potential engineering students in the high school auditorium, sharing detailed information with the students to encourage them to pursue their career dreams.
As Branch Manager for project development in the Manchester Office, Mosley told students about local projects he had been involved with while a student and as an engineer with the agency.
Mosley talked about various local projects he has been involved with already in his young career which “helped shape and improve our area roads.”
Utilizing a video and Powerpoint to help students visualize potential careers, they discussed what engineering is, with Mosley saying “The simple answer is, someone who solves problems.”
Many examples of projects engineers tackle were given during the presentation, with a focus on helping students understand that engineering is much more than simply mining and civil engineering.
Bridges, airports, rail, tunnels, acoustic, lighting, geotechniques, blast analysis, fire safety, citywide infrastructure, electric cars, low carbon cities, sustainable energy are all areas for engineering design, said Smith.
There are aeronautical, environmental, civil, mechanical, mining, metallurgical, chemical, biomedical, industrial and petroleum engineers.
Biomedical engineers have grown heart valves and veins as a result of the new and exciting research development.
“The job market looks really good,” said Mosley, adding median salaries are between $75,000 and $95,000 per year.
Mosley showed slides and video of work he has been involved with in the county, such as the blasting on the U.S. 421 relocation at Bob’s Creek that included excavation of 15 million cubic yards of material for one job.
Photos of the construction of the Bob’s Creek bridge and other area projects were included.
A portion of the presentation included great engineering successes and blunders, including the collapse of the four-month old Tacoma Bridge in 1940 that failed under 40 mile per hour wind speeds and the 1981 Hyatt Regency sky walk collapse in Kansas City.
“You have to be passionate about science and math,” said Smith.
Students also learned about summer employment and scholarship opportunities provided through their agency. A composite score of 24 is required to be eligible to apply for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Civil engineering scholarship, with a 2.5 grade point average necessary to retain it through college.
Harlan County High School students interested in engineering couldn’t select a better profession, says Greg York who is about to graduate from the University of Kentucky and will begin work with the transportation cabinet. York, who was in Harlan on spring vacation on the date of the presentation, spoke with students and told of the excellent opportunity the scholarship provided for him. He won’t be concerned about finding a job as he already is scheduled to begin work with the state on Aug. 1.
“Job security is very important,” says York, saying he can start to work as soon as he wants after graduation while some others who did not participate in the scholarship program and graduated a year ago are still looking for employment.