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How can a MechE look good for green engineering?

  1. Mar 8, 2010 #1
    im currently a freshman majoring in ME, and in the future want to
    work with (dont know specifically what yet) renewable energy, designing
    more efficient energy-harvesting systems, etc. but, i know there are
    tons of kids in my generation aspiring to do the same. is there a
    specific minor that you know of that can set me apart, or anything
    i should be doing extra-curricularly (if thats a word) to make me a
    more desirable ME in this field?
    at first i thought environmental engineering was for me, but my
    advisor told me that that was more dealing with water and air
    treatment, waste management, etc.
    any thoughts or ideas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2010 #2
    There is a lot of work for MEs trying to make current systems such as engines, refrigerators, heat pumps more efficient or even developing new systems. There is also a lot for MEs in solar, wind, geothermal... MEs can do a lot of different things so with a good ME degree it shouldn't be hard to find something you like. As far as things that will look good I guess it depends on what you want to do. If you are interested in grad school/research then start finding professors at your school who do research in these areas and try to work with them. If you are more interested in getting a job after undergrad then research is still great for the hands on experience but there are also probably some clubs at your school related to the environment that you could look into, or you could start your own club, or do a co-op with a company that works on energy.
  4. Mar 8, 2010 #3
    im definitey more into solar, wind, geothermal, etc... hopefully there are mechE jobs that require me being out in the field more often than not with these types of jobs? designing is fun too, though.
    i feel a little out of place asking a prof to do research with them as only a freshman or sophomore undergrad, but yeah i think there is a solar car team or something, so ill look into that, thanks.
    would it be helpful to have a minor in anything particular, or at least have a strong focus in a certain science (ie a mechE with a strong chemistry background)?
  5. Mar 8, 2010 #4
    I think being able to say you have a minor in something really doesn't matter much (at least that is what I have heard) but of course it would be a good idea to take electives in something that interests you. You should probably talk to professors about exactly what you want. And I know freshmen who started working in a professors lab before. Right now a friend of mine who is a bio-engineer has a freshman shadowing her in the lab to learn how everything works and eventually have her own project. So don't hesitate to talk to professors, the worst that can happen is they say no.
  6. Mar 9, 2010 #5
    It's never too early to start seeking out research/work experience, even if you expect to be rejected. If you know of a prof that is doing work that interests you, it probably won't hurt to let them know.

    Also, one summer opportunity you might consider applying to next year (applications are closed for this summer) is the SULI program. I mention it because I've taken part (and am returning for a second summer) and it offers a lot of opportunities to work in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Check out some of the labs and see if it sounds like something you'd want to do:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  7. Mar 10, 2010 #6
    alright, i think i'll approach one of my professors, thanks.
    doesn't look like the SULI program has anything near where i live (maine).
    my next question is what would look better for a job in alternative energy - a more physical or chemical background? next semester, i can choose between chem 12 and phys 12 (second level) to be on track for a BSME. which route should i go with, or is it just personal choice? i think i may enjoy physics more, but chemistry seems to be coming easier for me - i understand it better. any suggestions?
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