Geaux Engineers! (Elizabeth – Mechanical Engineer)

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This week, Elizabeth is going to tell us all about her path to engineering and how she’s been involved in several industries using her Mechanical Engineering degree. She was able to take advantage of some wonderful internship and co-op programs in college to get some good experience and now she works with me in Korea! She’s a great example of the wide range of choices you can pursue with an engineering degree; it is so versatile and can be applied to almost any industry! Read on and you’ll see! 

Hello!! I’m Elizabeth Beard, a Mechanical Engineer who graduated from Louisiana State University. Right now, I live in Okpo, South Korea with my cat (he is from the USA), but soon I will have the opportunity to rotate between Sakhalin Island, Russia, and Houston, Texas, to complete the project I am currently working on.

Beard Intro Collage

If we take a moment to rewind back to high school, this is when I first became interested in engineering. For science class, we all had to enter into the local science fair, but little did I know how much this would change my life. My project was on the accuracy of the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system and proving it mathematically. My project ended up winning at the State Science Fair and was noticed by the Army Corp. Next thing I know, I receive a letter in the mail from the Military asking me to attend a summer camp. Hesitant at first, but then I warmed up to the idea since this was only going to be a week. Turns out, this was the most awesome camp ever. It was geared towards our age group to introduce us into engineering types through different activities. We got to use and see all the technology the military and army uses (I mean like the helicopters to private software!!).

EB Army Camp Collage

Left: Our team won one of the activities and was congratulated by one of the Generals.
Right: My robot! He could throw a ping-pong into a jar. I built it, and my friend programmed it.

I encourage anyone who is interested in engineering to attend this camp. Please check out their website here. After this camp, I realized that I like figuring out how things work and mechanical engineering soon became my declared major in college… which leads me to the college days….

EB LSU

Geaux purple and gold! (fun fact: my sister is an electrical engineer from LSU!)

Not to bore you with details, but in college I was 100% confident that I did not want to join an Oil & Gas Company. Being raised in Louisiana, I thought oil and gas was nothing but plants and chemicals (this didn’t interest me). So I reached out to some mentors, asking for their help. More than anything, I wanted to work with home appliances. I was lucky to receive a Co-Op with General Electric in Louisville, KY. A Co-Op is where you go to school for a semester and then work with a company for a semester. During my rotations, I worked with Dishwashers and Washing Machines (see the pictures below). I also got to attend the Kentucky Derby and see snow for the first time! During my first rotation I helped invent a Dishwasher rack that was part of a patentable idea! Check it out here.

Signing a Patent (US # 8191560)!

Signing a Patent (US # 8191560)!

During my second and third rotations, I worked on washing machines. This was GE’s first washing machine without an agitator. I was in charge of consumer relations to make sure the design was ergonomic. On my third rotation, I actually developed and tested the algorithm for the washing machine (you know, the jeans/towels/delicates cycles).

EB Washing Machine Internship

After my Co-Op I continued my time at LSU being active via ASME and CxC (a Communication in Engineering Program). Senior Design finally came along, where our design project was a “One-man Mobile Deer Stand.”

Advertising for ASME during LSU Homecoming

Advertising for ASME during LSU Homecoming

The Deer Stand: In summary, one person could erect the 15ft stand in less than 10minutes. It also could be converted into a trailer that could be pulled behind an ATV.

EB Deer Stand

So how did I end up at ExxonMobil after being 100% positive I didn’t want to join an Oil & Gas Company? Well, at an ASME meeting, I heard about the Upstream Section of ExxonMobil. I applied for an internship, and was amazed at the complexity and challenges that it provided. I then accepted the full-time offer that was given to me! On Day #1 with my full-time job with ExxonMobil, I was told that I would be going to Hong Kong and Singapore. This started the flood of traveling that I would do!

EB Crab in Singapore

Two weeks after that trip, I joined the Sakhalin AD Project as a mechanical engineer, which led me to move to Okpo, South Korea! Work has been crazy, but it has also provided MANY travel opportunities that I never thought I would do. So far, I’ve been able to travel to England, France, China, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Hawaii, Thailand…and more adventures are planned.

EB Asia Travels Collage

EB Europe Travel Collage

As for the Project, it has been phenomenal to see it from paper to 3D model, to fabrication, to commissioning, and soon to start-up and drilling. I’ve grown not only as an engineer, but as a person. As nerve racking as it was to move to South Korea to work on this massive project, I wouldn’t trade it for anything!!

Checking out the view of our platform

Enjoying the views from the platform

EB Derrick Lift

The massive lift of the Derrick to the Platform

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my engineering adventures. If you would like to learn more about me, please visit my blog!

Now before I go, here are some words I would like to pass on…..

Don’t let people intimidate you.

What you put into something is what you will get out of it.

Be open to any opportunity, no matter how crazy or scary it seems.

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