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Shelbey Sparrow

Professor Robert Arnold


UWRT 1101
11/16/15
Mechanical Engineering Students: Stereotypes
Mechanical Engineering is a growing field, and there are many different people who
pursue this occupation. In todays society there are many stereotypes towards mechanical
engineers and in my opinion, these stereotype of students in the mechanical engineering field are
false. Many people believe that students studying mechanical engineering are only male, have a
focus in cars, are introverted, and are only in the field for the money.
When mechanical engineering first started to become prevalent in the 17th century with
influence from Sir Isaac Newton, being a woman in any field of work was unheard of. As the
mechanical engineering industry began to take off so did the involvement of women. In a
documentary by DuPont from the 1950s the film begins with a voice over of a man saying This
motion picture has been made to help you, you men who have chosen mechanical engineering
(dupont). Clearly, when this film was created the prominence of women in this field was
completely unheard of. As of today, the percentage of women receiving bachelors degrees in
Mechanical engineering is about 20% and growing. (asee) Many people even argue that women
should be dominant in the engineering field because of a natural instinct of curiosity. (bbc)
Woman may not have a huge presence in mechanical engineering as of today, but 20% is
extremely high compared to 0% at the start of the industry. The number of women in the field is
only going to continue in an increasing pattern as time continues.
Secondly, it seems that mechanical engineering is solely represented in the field of
motorsports and cars. By my own research, 15% of the mechanical engineering students I spoke

with wanted to pursue a concentration in motorsports. Many of the students leaned towards
either having no concentration or wanted to go into a biomedical field. Mechanical engineering
has many concentration besides motorsports. Some of them include, biomedical, energy,
aerospace, manufacturing, and nanotechnology. (boston) The motorsports industry also has the
lowest rate of hiring for all mechanical concentrations, because many large motorsports
companies are incredibly hard to get into. Biomedical engineering is considered one of the top 25
in demand jobs and fastest growing jobs in the U.S. and will continue to get larger, so many
students are choosing this as a concentration (campus explorer).
Many people also believe that most people are only going into the engineering field for
the money, from my research and surveys I only came across two people who said that the
money was a major reason as to why they wanted to go into an engineering field. Many students
said that their main passion in life was to help people and going into an engineering field would
help this. With companies like Engineers without Borders, Society for Women Engineers, and
American Association of Engineering Societies, there are always ongoing projects to help other
people. I also encountered students who just had a huge interest in whatever concentration that
were pursuing, whether they simply liked to put things together or find something like energy
interesting.
Finally, many people ruminate that engineers have very introverted personalities and do
nothing but sit and work, but according to Ron Smelser in How to Build Better Engineers, he
states that in his 25 years in the field of engineering he spent at least 50% of his time
communicating with others. Many engineering jobs also involve working with teams to develop
an idea. People who are extremely introverted would have trouble with this amount of

interaction. People who chose to study mechanical engineering can have all different types of
personalities, not just strictly introverts.
As many people believe these stereotypes to be true, people who chose to study
mechanical engineering are from all different walks of life, with all different passions, all
different personalities, and all different motives. The mechanical engineering community should
not be stereotyped into any category because every person who chooses to possess a career in
this field is different from one another.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30876899
http://www.asee.org/papers-and-publications/publications/college-profiles/2011-profileengineering-statistics.pdf
http://www.bu.edu/me/academics/undergraduate/concentrations/
http://www.campusexplorer.com/college-advice-tips/76DB6BDB/Top-25-In-Demand-Jobs-andFastest-Growing-Occupations/