Sole Education Week 5: Personal Safety On the Job

Sole Education - Personal Safety on the Job

Safety goggles, hardhats, and you guessed it – safety footwear are all examples of materials that may be used as PPE (personal protective equipment) in the trades.  As a mechanical engineering intern and student, Mikayla had her own experience with PPE, let’s learn about what safety measures and protocols are taken in the industry:

Personal Safety on the Job

While in my first engineering classes, we learned a few safety protocols for Brown Steel Toe Boots when we are working with machinery, harmful chemicals, or near dangerous equipment.

Personal Safety Standards Include:

  • Wearing long hair up in a bun to prevent it from getting caught in machinery or dipped in harmful chemicals,
  • Wearing closed-toe or steel-toed boots while on a machine shop floor,
  • Always wear safety glasses when on the shop floor
  • Wearing long work pants
  • Wearing a safety vest.

In my intro to machining class, I was the only female so I was the only one that needed to follow the safety protocol for putting my hair up and out of the way. The risk with having your hair down can be that it gets caught in spinning machinery, it can be dipped into contaminants, and it can get in the way of a part you are examining. At Volvo Trucks, we are required to wear safety glasses and steel-toed boots whenever we enter the machine shop or truck garage. This is because it is a liability if heavy machinery were to land on our toes, and if harmful chemicals or metal chips fly into our face. Safety is incredibly important for work productivity, without these protocols, people can get hurt and not be able to work.


Follow along with Mikayla’s progress here.
Learn more about the Generation T movement here.


Sole Education Week 3: Things You Wish You Knew

Sole Education Week 3: Things You Wish You Knew ( Before You Started)

Hindsight is always 20/20, and we all have situations and events that we would have handled differently if given the chance to do it again. We asked Mikayla to discuss what things she would change if given the option about how she pursued her education. Read on to learn more about Mikayla’s experience!

Things I Wish I Knew (Before I Started)

Mikayla displaying trophies won for 3D Drafting Design and Manufacturing Prototype
Mikayla displaying trophies won for 3D Drafting Design and Manufacturing Prototype. She was involved with a club called the Technology Students Association as a senior in high school.

When I was in high school, I took my first computer-aided drafting course as a freshman. Immediately, I knew I could see myself as a drafter, designer, technician, or in something that involved the advancement of technology.

I did not understand at the time how much it would take to get to the position I am at today. In high school, I was not as study-driven as I am now; I took the basic classes to get by and had low self-confidence in most subjects.

As Senior year rolled by, I realized that I wasn’t ready to transition to a university. Because of this, I decided to live at home and get my Associates degree first, allowing for a much smoother transition into my bachelors.

Thanks to the 3 years I spent getting my associates, I feel like I have matured enough mentally to take the next step into a university.

During the summers I worked as an intern, allowing me to gain real-world experience in the engineering field. If I could start over, I would have followed the path with my career and education; community college allowed me to mature and become more career-driven.

Despite this, I wish I knew how to better prepare myself for the real-world. I wish I knew that having a good GPA and work ethic would only get me so far. Along with these characteristics, making contacts with people already in the field is incredibly important for getting a job interview, a recommendation, or when you need helpful advice.

I did not take advantage of the amount of one-on-one time I had with my teachers at GTCC, so I did not get to talk to them about available internships or ask for advice I may have needed to hear.

Words of Advice:

In engineering, the most important thing you must remember is that you are never the smartest person in the room; there is always someone willing to give you helpful advice or answer a question you may have.


Follow along with our students’ progress here.
Learn more about the Generation T movement here.


Sole Education Week 1: Introduction

Sole Education - Meet the Student

We are thrilled to launch our first-ever Sole Education program! Over the next few months, we will be learning more about our student’s skilled trades program through their experiences and blog entries.

The Sole Education Grant is an industry-based education grant sponsored by Saf-Gard Safety Shoe Company. It is for students who are just starting out in the trades.

Over the next several weeks, we will be working with Mikayla, a rising Mechanical Engineering Technology student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

She will be covering topics related to her industry and hopefully inspire others to learn more about opportunities in the skilled trades as well.

Let’s learn more about her:

“Hey everyone, my name is Mikayla. I grew up in a small town outside of New Haven, CT but moved to Greensboro, NC, with my family in the summer of 2014.Saf-Gard Sole Education Mikayla

I recently received my Associates in Engineering Technology from GTCC, and I will be continuing my education this fall at UNC Charlotte where I plan to earn a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. With my degree, I plan on making a career for myself in Plastics Technology as a Project Engineer.

While at GTCC, I’ve fallen in love with the world of technology and engineering design. I’ve excelled in courses involving math and science and was praised for my leadership skills during group STEM (short for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities.

Outside of school, I am a Mechanical Engineering Intern for Volvo Trucks North America.  I consider myself hardworking, disciplined, and creative when it comes to my education and future career.”

We can’t wait to learn more about Mechanical Engineering this summer with Mikayla, and see what the summer holds!

Follow along with our students’ progress here.
Learn more about the Generation T movement here.