Sole Education Week 4: Trends of the Trade

Trends of the trade

Innovation and growth are two things that drive most industries.  Without these two driving forces, a company will find itself slowly fading into obscurity.

This week, we asked Mikayla to give us the lowdown on the latest and greatest technology in the Mechanical Engineering field – check out what she had to share:

Trends of the Trade:

A trending topic in my trade right now is the use of new technology such as Augmented and Virtual Reality. Especially in manufacturing, prototyping, a product can be costly and time-consuming.

Throughout the 00’s technology revolution, we have seen the original desktop computer, the laptop mobile computer, then the mobile phone with the same functions as a computer. This has technological investors asking, what’s next?

Augmented and virtual reality will be able to impact the engineering industry in ways we didn’t think possible.

There is a difference between augmented and virtual reality: virtual reality is when you are placed into the virtual space, whereas augmented reality is when virtual objects are placed into your own space.

Many automotive manufacturers like Volvo Trucks have already invested in virtual and augmented reality to visualize full-scale truck models in 3D CAD software.

With this technology, Volvo trucks can examine designs up close without spending the money to prototype them. Volvo Trucks also utilizes virtual reality for truck driving simulations, to find ways to make the driver more comfortable, as well as test the drivability of a truck before it is manufactured.

With augmented reality, engineers can see the part in front of them in their own space. In manufacturing, a technician could use augmented reality to visualize the assembly and disassembly instructions for a piece of equipment, to perform maintenance, just by scanning a simple bar code.

Follow along with our students’ 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.