Meet Lina, a marine engineering and naval architecture student!
What are some really cool things that marine engineers work on?
Marine engineers and naval architects help design all types of vessels that are used in water. These vessels can be naval ships, cruise ships, cargo ships, and oil drilling platforms.
Marine engineers and naval architects can do things beyond just designing ships. Some naval architects and marine engineers design waterslides for cruise ships. Others do top-secret research for the government. Some naval engineers help design surfboards with hydrofoils built in. One graduate from my school even went on to create the LovePop 3-D greeting cards using ship design expertise and featured his idea on Shark Tank!
Can you tell us about any fun projects you have worked on?
The largest project I have worked on so far was also one of my absolute favorites. It was my junior year Small Ship Design project. Our class was split into groups, and each group had to design a different type of ship. Then we had to present our design to a panel of students, faculty, and professionals.
My group designed a ship that could be used as a ferry in the Bahamas. It would mainly serve as a relief vessel for disasters in the Caribbean.
We spent months thinking about how the design should be. We had to brainstorm how to shape the hull, or base of the boat. We also had to plan how to arrange all the different spaces and systems on the ship. Because it would be floating, we had to find out how much everything would weigh. We wanted to make sure that the ship would not sink and that it would be safe. There are also lots of rules that we had to make sure that we were following.
We named our ship the M/V Conchy Joe. It had a ramp for cars to drive on and off. It also had a helicopter pad under which passengers could sit. We also designed it so that it would have a crane on the back to lift cargo. The whole time we worked on this project, we met with naval architects and marine engineers who helped us improve our design.
It was a really fun and interesting project. It took a lot of work and our team stayed up late to work on it. I would say that it was the best reflection of what real work in the naval architecture and marine engineering fields could be.
What do you love most about your school and its Marine Engineering program?
I love that the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering program at my school provides me with a lot of hands-on opportunities all around the world. During my freshman year, I worked for two months at a shipyard in Washington. I got to help build large superyachts.
I also spent a week in the Cayman Islands as a counselor for a ship design summer camp.
During my sophomore year, I got to spend a semester abroad in England. I spent two months working aboard a ship in California as a cadet.
In my junior year, I spent a week in California for the SWE Conference with the rest of the girls in my class, which was really fun.
I worked for two months in Virginia for Gibbs & Cox, which is a ship design contractor. Being able to leave campus and participate in the industry while I am a student provides a great taste of what is waiting for me once I graduate.
What advice can you share with our readers who are interested in studying marine engineering?
Have faith in yourself and your abilities. Self-doubt is a really hard thing to get over. I deal with it constantly. You have to trust yourself and put in the work. It might be scary at first, and you might think that you are not cut out for it. I promise that if you put in the effort, you will definitely see the payoff!
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