Toy Rockets Launch Nontraditional Engineering Career
Abby Dewane's engineering degree wasn't written in the stars; it was fired off with rockets and robots.
"When I was really young, we would build rockets and launch them in the backyard," Abby says. In high school, she joined FIRST Robotics and helped her team build 120-pound robots for competition. She became the team's Electrical captain.
"I learned a lot about physically wiring, crimping, fitting all of the components into a small space. It opened me up to possibilities I hadn’t considered before, that there’s a future in engineering for me, and I enjoyed doing it."
Abby has been a student academic coach in NWTC's Engineering Technology Hall since her second semester at NWTC, when her instructors noticed her helping her classmates with their lab work. But she said that the hall is home to many staff and students who help when someone needs it.
"You get to know people in the tech hall, even people in other programs. We all help each other out. We collaborate a lot on labs, and you get to know who has a certain strength in a certain class. A lot of people have helped me with classes."
Once she had her electro-mechanical degree underway, she started thinking she could go on for a bachelor's degree. She completed an Electro-Mechanical degree in 2019 and an Automation degree in May 2020, and is currently taking General Studies classes in preparation for transferring her credits into a bachelor's degree program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
"Most of the instructors here are really good about pushing you to further your education and taking opportunities as they arise."
She said taking credits at NWTC to transfer to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay worked out well for her.
"I like this school, I have a job, it’s cheaper, and it's financially smart to take classes here."