2 answers

Is there a company/organization that will allow me to donate some of my time so I can get a feel for what Mechanical Engineering is? I want to see what is like being an engineer instead of someone telling me. Thanks!

Updated Los Angeles, California

I am interested in Mechanical Engineering and want to know more about it. #engineers #volunteering #engineering #internships #mechanical-engineering

2 answers

Glenn’s Answer

Updated Los Angeles, California


That is a great question and I love that you want to be proactive. I am not sure of an organization that arranges this, but there are 2 avenues to consider. First is volunteering over the summer to have an opportunity to be in the office. My concern is that you will do more of just running errands and getting coffee. If you had some skills, like working on CAD, that would be better.

Second option that is very interesting is job shadowing. This is where you pair up with an engineer and follow them around the office for a day or week. When I have had student do this with my team members, they usually get 30 minutes with each of the team members for a 1 on 1 conversation about their perspective.

Both of these efforts require networking to find the opportunity.

Glenn recommends the following next steps:

  • Check with parents, family, friends parents, teachers, guidance counselors to see who can put you in touch with someone who is an ME or work with MEs.
  • Start with an email and introduce yourself and what you are interested in doing. You can ask for both options.
  • Set up time for a phone call. Research the company and what they do. Look on LinkedIn and check out their profile before the call.
  • Have the call, be prepared with questions, ask for a face to face meeting. If it makes sense, ask for the job shadowing or working for free options

Peter’s Answer

Updated Kent, Washington


You did not state what level of schooling you are at. I assume you are in high school. A really great way to directly experience what it is like to be an engineer is to join a chapter of Engineers without Borders. Each chapter has one or more active projects helping small, third-world communities. The project may involve a piped water system, a new well, better sanitation, an upgraded road, a new bridge, etc. You get to work directly with a community and address its needs, as you would do everyday as an engineer. You will be involved in the project concept, design of the project and raise money for the project. You could even go overseas on a trip to the community to help build the project.

This volunteer work will give you a very good idea of the challenges and fulfillment that a professional engineer faces.

Many colleges have local chapters of Engineers without Borders. You can join early in your freshman year and gain good experience in time to declare a major, later on in college. I guarantee this will be a great experience for you and heartily recommend it. Below is the Link. You should be able to find a listing of participating colleges.

Good Luck, Pete Sturtevant

Peter recommends the following next steps:

  • Try this EWB Link: https://www.ewb-usa.org/
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