John Townsend, an engineer at Caterpillar’s North Carolina facility, recently shared his knowledge and career experience in becoming a Caterpillar engineer at a STEM event hosted by The North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network Pre-College Program at North Carolina State University.
NCSU has been hosting similar events over the past 32 years where professionals from a wide range of experiences teach hands on sessions on a variety of topics. The event’s goal was to provide enrichment and college preparation classes to underserved students in grades six through twelve.
The road to becoming an engineer for John started in high school while completing a career assessment. Not knowing what to expect as a result, John took the assessment and heard back that his skills led him along the career path of being a laborer who dug ditches. While that was the exact route he took, today he works as an engineer designing equipment to dig ditches.
Looking back on his journey, he told the students at the STEM day that you can come from anywhere, and do anything as long as you want it, and if you:
- Believe in yourself – regardless of what anyone might tell you
- Have others believe in you – he says he could have never gotten to where he is without the help and belief of others
- Believe in something else and pay it forward – help others by believing in them
John says the STEM event was a good way to interact with students and show them the opportunities available at Caterpillar.
“This event is needed. You get the opportunity to explain things in an environment where kids feel no pressure,” said John, “They get to voice how they feel and what obstacles are impeding them today. It’s a one on one type experience that’s interactive where they can ask real questions.”
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