Ryan Betts is a YSU STEM alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He began his higher education with a love of math, physics, and problem-solving; and through his coursework, he found new interests in computer-aided design and additive manufacturing.
In his junior year at YSU, Ryan began working as a lab assistant in the Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing (CIAM) under his mentors, Dr. Brett Conner and lab manager Jay Wargacki. He used this position to enhance his classroom knowledge and to gain real-world experience for his future career.
Ryan now works as a design engineer under Dr. Kirk Rogers in the Center for Additive Technology Advancement (CATA) at General Electric in Pittsburgh, PA.
“As a design engineer, I am responsible for designing functional mechanical parts to be printed on the several 3D printers we have at our site,” he said. “We are capable of 3D printing parts out of several polymers, sands, and metal alloys, each possessing their own unique challenges in the design phase.”
During his senior year, Ryan had expressed to Dr. Conner his interest in GE’s CATA, but he knew there were no available positions. Through some networking and determination, he was hired just before graduation when a position became available.
Ryan gave a little bit of advice to YSU STEM students so that they can find opportunities like he did:
“My advice to STEM freshmen would be to get involved with internships, on-campus employment, and/or research as soon as possible. These are great ways to enhance your skillsets and make your resume stand out to potential employers! I didn’t do myself any favors by keeping my high school job into my first two years of college and neither will you.
To the seniors, don’t wait until May to start looking for a full-time job or graduate school. It’s never too early to start networking with professionals or interviewing for positions you want to secure upon graduation. At this point, setting up and preparing for interviews/universities should be considered just as important as completing projects or studying for exams.”
You don’t have to be an engineer, or even a STEM student, to apply this advice to your own education and career options. It’s never too early to start networking and planning, just like Ryan said. You never know what kind of opportunity will open up if you prepare and wait for it.