STEM’s new career paths

Elka Wyatt, Reporter

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For most people, turning on the faucet to get a glass of water is pretty simple. However, when you consider how the water gets from the water source to your faucet, it is actually a pretty complex process. Many different kinds of engineers are responsible for this.

Randy Cowart, a Control Systems Engineer, explained to students the different types of engineering degrees offered at Bakersfield College at the STEM Pathways presentation “What in the World Can You Do with an Engineering Degree?” on Feb. 25 in the Fireside Room at Bakersfield College.

“Quite a bit of engineering goes into just being able to turn on water at home,” said Kennedy.

The STEM Program, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, is a supportive system for students interested in pursuing a degree in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geology, Math and Physics.

The STEM Pathways Series brings to our campus individuals working in the industry to give students information about what they do and the steps they took to get there.

“There is no accomplishment in doing something that is easy, there needs to be a challenge,” said Cowart. “If something is hard, and you are able to do it, it will give you a great sense of accomplishment.”

He showed the students tools used by different engineers through a PowerPoint presentation.

Cowart also mentioned that BC was in the process of creating a baccalaureate-level program for an Industrial Automation Degree, starting in the fall of 2015.

He warned that there is a lot of work involved in being an engineer but also said “If it’s an easy job, then anyone can do it for minimum wage.”

He then turned the floor over to David Kennedy, a physicist who is a Bakersfield native, who took classes at BC while in high school, went to Cal State Bakersfield for two years and U.C. Santa Barbara for two years. He earned a B.S. in Physics, which is not engineering.

He had to register with the state of California as a Control Systems Engineer.

He told students how he was involved in implementing a system at the Corn Nuts plant in Fresno that went from unloading the truck of raw corn, to cooking the corn.

He said that he went from designing nuclear missiles to designing a system for processing the corn for the making of Corn Nuts.

Cynthia Quintanilla is the STEM counselor at BC. Anyone who is interested in becoming an engineer can e-mail her for information on the program at [email protected]

With technology becoming more and more intricate, the demand for automation engineers is pretty high.

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