Meet Colin Tancredi, manufacturing engineering technology major

Colin Tancredi, Wallingford, Penn.

Major: Manufacturing Engineering Technology


Sigma Alpha Lambda leadership organization
Golden Key international academic honor society
Philosophy Club
Tarkington Hall staff
Wiley Hall community

My major

There is an art to technology. In the shortest description, my major is about making things. It focuses you on the manufacturing industry. It exposes you to a lot of new technologies and processes. It’s not just like black-and-white standards and guidelines and procedures; it’s putting a level of creativity into it.

A ha!

If it’s in front of me, and it’s broken, I’m going to try to fix it. I knew I was in the right major when I realized I could watch “How It’s Made” for three hours straight. The crazy amount of technology used to make a stapler, for example, going from that raw steel and plastic beads to a finished stapler, requires so much of the newest technology.

Making a difference

I played in a steel drum band in the Philadelphia area. They are so expensive because they are handmade. I really want to get into making instruments that are available to everyone. I want to find a way to make the manufacturing easier and less expensive. It is an underrated instrument.

Programming challenges

In MET 28400 (Introduction to Industrial Controls), I worked on a small-scale assembly line with photo-eyes, product-stops and product-rams. To get a pallet around a U-shape should be easy, right? But it takes about 30 lines of code depending on what you want it to do at each stop. If you incorporate a small robot or grab a part, that’s another whole subroutine on a different controller. You have to know different coding languages, and you have to know what is safe to do. One of our classes put an emphasis on the safety. When you are programming robots, they don’t know what is safe. You have to be their moral guide. And you can’t always see a hazard. It can be a small loophole in programming that makes a big difference.

Being a people person

People at Purdue are very easy to get along with. There are interesting people from different walks of life; people with different interests than you have, but you get along with them seamlessly. There’s just something about this campus. In addition, at career fairs, you get experience talking to people in a professional setting. Purdue helps you learn how to communicate with people.