Johnny Frisco, mechanical engineering technology
Making a difference
I’m not looking to create the next big thing, though that would be cool. But if I can figure out how to make a current technology, product or engineering service more efficient and reliable, that will satisfy me. I want to be able to get into my chosen industry and become a valuable member to an engineering team, to contribute to a company and make a real difference in the mechanical methods they use.
We use current engineering principles to solve design problems. It’s not so much looking for flaws. But, if it breaks, we look at the problem, how we can fix it, how we can keep it from breaking again, and how we can improve it. We take current technology and improve on it — make it more efficient, more reliable, and make it work better than before. For example, we may not design a whole new type of engine, but we’ll definitely take an existing engine or engine design and make it the best that it possibly can be.
I’ve always had an interest in tinkering with things and trying to get them to work, whether it was trying to build a robot from a VEX Robotics parts kit, or just taking apart an old walkie-talkie. Technology seemed like a more hands-on approach, more applied learning, and that definitely interested me. If you can see it, touch it and work with it, that’s what applied means to me. I knew engineering technology was the way for me to go. I wanted real experiences working with my hands with industry technology. I also knew I would be exposed to projects where I could apply real engineering innovations and problem-solving skills.
Labs, labs, labs
When I started getting into the lab work, I knew I had made the right choice for my major. In our mock foundry lab (MET 245 Manufacturing Processes II), we went through the process of creating molds to cast aluminum into a finished product. I’ve made my own Purdue medallion and metal engravings. In various courses, I was able to get experience working with CAD modeling and computer programming. In MET 284 (Intro to Industrial Controls), we ran a miniature manufacturing line. With computer software, we were able to program a conveyor belt to route pallets through a series of steps, effectively simulating a manufacturing line process. Within our engineering sciences labs, we were able to study the laws of heat transfer and learn about the properties of fluids in different conditions (MET 220 Heat/Power & MET 230 Fluid Power). It was the many things we were exposed to that captured my attention.
I have had two internships during my time at Purdue. First, I worked for Purdue in the Energy and Engineering Services division of the Office of Physical Facilities. I was charged with diagnosing problems and finding solutions to issues related to indoor air quality, HVAC systems or indoor plumbing. This past summer, I was an engineering intern with Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. They design and build nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers for the United States Navy. I worked in the automation division under the engineering department. Our department was tasked with creating all the internal automated systems within the new Ford-class of aircraft carrier.
I served as a BEST tutor for the College of Technology. Every week, I helped students in the 100- and 200-level MET courses. The students I was able to help came out with a better understanding of the material they were covering.