What's your day job?


I am an advanced manufacturing intern at Cleveland Punch and Die. This job is my first internship experience and has progressed through an internship period and two semesters of co-op experience. I haven’t been responsible for much and have done mostly machining work over the last year, but I have been given two projects. The first project I completed during my internship tenure revolved around setting up the programming and fixture of a wire EDM so that the process could be run 24 hours a day. The second and most recent project is a three position fixture design to streamline the setup on an after production process.

Along with school and robotics I have a pretty full schedule to deal with this semester. I have learned alot in the last year and have gotten a feel for the manufacturing side of things. Sadly with three weeks left in the semester and in the middle of a project I was informed that I am being terminated before finals. I am now stuck trying last minute efforts to find another internship or engineering opportunity before I have to take up the search for another ‘job’.


Been working about a year and a half now as a CAD Drafter for Superior Design Group. We do outsourcing work from other companies like Pratt & Whitney, MOOG, Dresser Rand and of course Delphi.

In what I can only call providence, I ended up working in the Delphi Group. After being a student for 4 years on a Robotics whose main sponsor was Delphi.



I work as an upholsterer. Custom built and reupholstered furniture. Antique museum pieces to commercial upholstery. We’ve done chair’s from the 1600’s, tons of antiques, chiropractor tables, boats, hotels. I absolute love my job. It gives me a chance to work with my hands, design cool things, and make old things new again.


flight attendant


I am a cosultant mostly to non-profit companies. But for years I worked as a Telecom Engineer.


My job is almost definitely the coolest–

I design, test, and operate cryogenics plants that supply 2-Kelvin cryogens to a particle accelerator and several test facilities.


I’m a Nursing Assistant and on the fence between becoming a commercial pilot and a physicians assistant. Still going to college! :]


I launch rockets.

It actually isn’t rocket science though. I am an electrical engineer working on telemetry data for the Delta program. I am lucky enough to support launch days on console (in Denver, not at the launch sites) and there is nothing that can reproduce the feeling of being polled before coming out of the T-4 min hold. The downside to be on console: all of my slip ups are now recorded and saved for history. Yep, that infamous 2am night during NPP’s flight will go down in history!

By night I’m a grad student and mentor. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.


I work on a charter boat here in Gulfport, Mississippi, I also weld as much as possible for extra cash. I plan on attending Bagley college of engineering in the fall at MS State.


As many others have stated in this thread, your career is what you make of it. Especially when you first start out as a young engineer, aggressively seek work that interests you, and stretch your capabilities. You’ll often find in industry there are all levels of effort/interest by your teammates. Promoting yourself as motivated and capable of learning.adapting to a constantly evolving work situation will quickly set you apart from the field.

Fortunately FIRST has provided many opportunities for you to practice those skills, in front of your mentors as well as judges and VPs during competitions :slight_smile:

Advice aside, my day job is an electrical engineer for a “major defense contractor”. What does this mean? On any given day, I could be:

  • Writing C/C++ on an IBM AIX platform to do multi-threaded signal processing (parallel FFTs, IQ data manipulation, filtering, Doppler processing, etc).
  • Writing C++ and MATLAB analysis and/or test equipment automation scripts. The fewer times you have click a mouse or push a button on an instrument the better!
  • Writing VHDL for a variety of FPGA platforms, including one very similar to the FPGA inside the cRIO
  • Hardware design, which for me is typically high-speed mixed signal circuit board designs with FPGAs, A/D and D/A converters, and RF signal chains.
  • Mentoring junior engineers or supporting other engineers in specific subject matters such as phase noise, fiber optic interfaces, and RF design.
  • Sitting in meetings or filling out reams of paperwork - well, you can’t have fun every day…

Surprisingly I still use about 75% of the math and physics I learned in high school and college. Trig and trig identities get used pretty frequently in signal processing, linear algebra on an almost daily basis. Differential equations to some extent, and calculus at least in terms of series approximations to forumulae.


Secondary Education Major/Geography Major, Class of 2015 and 2016

Although I’m currently a freshman, FIRST has inspired my career goals to become an educator… And a social studies educator nonetheless. I know I’m the oddball here, but that’s who I am :wink:


I am an product (applications) engineer for Kaydon, a manufacturer of custom and thin-section bearings. I get to play a small role in a broad range of interesting projects. I have worked on bearings in Dave Lavery’s “other car” (original Mars Rovers), the Hubble Telescope, the International Space Station, Joint Strike Fighter STOVL, various satellites and helicopters, and everyting from medical devices to sewage treatment, renewable energy to nuclear power, industrial machinery, etc. I even get calls from other FRC teams.

I also have a 30 acre hobby farm with a few cattle and horses. I operate it with semi-antique equipment from the 1950’s & 1960’s, including some classic 2-cylinder John Deere tractors. It seems like the first thing that happens on all my machinery is for a bearing to go out. Tinkering with old farm equipment is a great learning experience. Shoveling manure keeps me humble. The seasonal schedule fits well with robotics.

As a mentor, I’m supposed to bring my work experience to robotics and share it with the students. In reality, I apply my robotics experiences to the benefit of Kaydon a lot more often.


I am in R&D at Procter & Gamble. After internships in logistics and plant engineering, I found my home in the bridge between bench top production of products (i.e. we figured out a way to make this one awesome widget) and full scale production (i.e. how can we make millions of these widgets?). The important part is that I get to wake up every day and do work that I am excited about.

I think it’s important to remember that FIRST in its name stresses inspiration and recognition of science and technology. I see STEM in so many facets of my life now. An example: from working at a consumer products company, literally every time I buy something, in some small way, I think of the fact that someone had to come up with that product and someone (or something) had to make it. I have seen firsthand the level of thought that goes into making our products, much of it in overcoming STEM related hurdles.

STEM related careers, to me, are so exciting because of the limitless possibilities and paths one can take. Even more exciting is that not everyone has to pursue a STEM related career to appreciate the aspects of STEM all around them.


I work as an Applications Engineer for a company that makes various specialty adhesive tapes. It’s the right mix for me between playing in the lab, working with manufacturing, and interacting with the customer. Best part is I get to go see people who is using our products to make some pretty cool things.
I have to say, FIRST is one of the primary reasons I got this job. My degree is in civil engineering. I was interviewing for a new training program for a sales position and I didn’t really on paper fit what they were looking for. The HR manager wasn’t convinced, and his first question for me was Why should I even consider you for this spot? Usually I would have thrown your application away in the first 15 seconds. Well, I explained my various responsibilities as a mentor though FIRST, and he liked it so much that he called me back for the Application Engineering position which they had not even advertised online less than a week later. They ended up offering me both positions, and I firmly believe I would not have had a shot at either without my FIRST experience.


I am a Development engineer at DEKA Research, Dean Kamen’s Company. Mostly we design and engineer cutting-edge medical devices such as the ‘Luke’ arm or the iBot but have been known to deviate into other areas.

At DEKA, I put similar skills to the ones being taught in FIRST teams to use every day. Rigorous problem solving skills rooted in math and science allow me to ensure that whatever project I’m working on is reliable and safe. Creative thinking similar to FIRST robot design allows me and the team I work with to innovate so we “are on the cutting-edge of whatever industry we choose to join”.


Before Joining DEKA I worked with ARTAIC INNOVATIVE MOSAIC, a startup company in Boston. They assemble custom tile mosaics from photos their customers send in. To keep costs and response time low they use robots to arrange the tiles instead of out-sourced labor. It was my job to design and build the robotic system from the ground up. My experience with FIRST along with my degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Engineering really helped with this project. Due to my involvement in this project, Artaic has lowered the time it takes to assemble a square foot of custom mosaic mural from 2 hours to about 40 seconds!

-Dan Karol


Right now, I’m working in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab here. My project is called Reflect2O (a play on H2O). We are creating a data visualization tool to put in people’s homes to try and encourage them to conserve water.


I’m a Product Manager at Jobscience. We write Recruiting software on the Salesforce cloud. All of our Dev is in NH but we have a San Fran office as well.

I write specs, talk to programmers, QA, and generally bring projects from start to finish. It’s nice seeing technology out there that you had a part in building.


When I’m not working for the state of Virginia Employment Commission (we find people jobs and assist with unemploment claims) I am a professional actress and model.
I get excited when I find people jobs and get them off unemployment for so many reasons.
I love my acting and modeling work as well. Yes, I have been on tv shows, commercials, films (both small and large), and print advertising.
My work isn’t related to FIRST in the sense of Science or Technology, however, many forget how important structure, organization, teamwork, and planning factor into robot production. The bottom line is that no matter what you do in life, odds are you perfected your skills thanks to FIRST.


I’m now officially an author! My first novel, Twice Shy, is being released this September by JournalStone Publishing, and I couldn’t be more excited about it!


I work as an (paid) intern for our sponsor Special Parts & Mfg, who manufactures our sheet metal parts for the robot. Its really cool to see how our stuff is made and also helps with the CAD and design of the robot. I now know cool tricks SPM can do that we can use, and the limitations of their basic (non specialty) machines to get stuff made and delivered faster.