Megan Bruneau – Becoming a Mechanical Engineer with a Background in Design

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Megan Bruneau STEAM Boston
Photo Courtesy of Megan Bruneau

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a Senior in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Industrial Design at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA. In the next few years, I might pursue a Masters in design, but I hope to gain professional experience first. In terms of extracurricular activities at Wentworth, I play for the Women’s Rugby Club Team, and I have been apart of the Society of Women Engineers for four years. A thing I started was the Relay for Life team and for the past four years, we have been raising money for the American Cancer Society. For one of my spring breaks, I went to South Florida for Alternative Spring Break. We did a lot of work with animals and learned about the issues surrounding the exotic animals in Florida.

What got you interested in Mechanical Engineering?

My dad is a carpenter and growing up I have been very hands-on because of him. I enjoyed building things with my dad, and I have also always had a passion for mathematics and design. I figured that engineering was the perfect blend for me. When I graduated high school, I knew that I wanted to go into engineering, but was not sure of what type. I knew mechanical engineering was the broadest and had the most opportunities in terms of career choice. So, I just went for it, and I instantly fell in love with it. It worked out for me, so I made the right choice.

Where do you see yourself in 1-2 years?

I hope to work for a couple of years and then go back to school for my Masters. I’m very family-oriented, so I’ll most likely be staying within the Greater Boston area. I have worked three co-ops in manufacturing facilities, but I would like to change it up and try to branch out a bit. I’m really interested in working in a position that has a hybrid of design and engineering. So, I’m hoping to get a Masters in that area. The Master’s program I like the most is at Carnegie Mellon, and it is an integrated innovation Masters degree.  I’ll get a chance to learn more about design and business, which will significantly complement my engineering knowledge.

What advice do you have for students looking for a co-op or internship?

My advice is to apply to as many places and even to places you don’t think you would also get into. Companies do not expect you to know everything, so go into the interview with a lot of questions. Companies want you to be curious and want you to be eager to learn. I worked at three large companies, which meant there was a lot I could learn and experience.  My advice for students is to be ready to learn and be enthusiastic about the position.

For students that are thinking about entering the STEM / STEAM fields, what advice do you have for them?

Look for a role model and someone you can ask questions to. Even shadow a professional or student for a day. Wentworth has a great shadowing program that allows you to see what classes are like. I would say reach out and get as much knowledge as you can about the major. You can also ask them what skills may be valuable to learn before entering a specific STEAM major or job.  I still continue to reach out to my mentors for advice.

 What is your favorite place in Boston?

I love Downtown Crossing. It’s my favorite place to go because there is so much to see and do. I always enjoy shopping on my days off, and there is definitely a lot of options there. It’s also a short walk to the Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, and the North End. I love walking around downtown and especially in the wintertime. In the winter, all the trees are lit up, and it is beautiful.

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