HAMMOND │ About 200 students from the region learned about careers in the local steel industry during a high school engineering seminar Thursday at Purdue University Calumet.
Hosted by the Midwest Chapter of the Association for Iron & Steel, juniors from 16 high schools participated in several engineering labs including the creation of a robotic Lego, hand-launched glider, free standing tower as well as utilizing metallurgical and mechanical testing equipment and 3-D visualization.
“This is a way to reach young people and get them interested in the steel industry,” said Kelly Dallas, ArcelorMittal project manager and chair of the AIST Midwest Chapter.
The seminar kicked off with local engineers telling students why they choose their career path. Paul Behnke, of U.S. Steel, said if they enjoy working on cars or equipment or tools “or anything” – he calls them toys.
“And there’s no bigger toy than the steel industry,” he said. “The mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic equipment is awesome. To a mechanical engineer the steel industry is like John Hopkins is to a doctor. There are many different job opportunities and careers. There’s a ton of different opportunities within the steel organization.”
Kaylee Gubricky, of Hobart High School, said she registered for the seminar because her mom has an engineering degree so she “grew up around it.”
“I want to learn about different engineering types,” Gubricky said. “I’ve always liked drawing out designs and coming up with stuff.”
Gubricky said she’s currently involved in digital electronics at school.
“I just want to try everything out,” she said.
Her classmate, Rachel Binder, said she was looking forward to the exposure to engineering the seminar would provide and wants to be a chemical engineer.
Hobart High School student Gabriella Acosta said she isn’t sure what field she wants to enter but was there to learn about what will interest her.
Current Purdue University Calumet engineering students also spoke to the attendees. Lizzet Gil, who is studying mechanical engineering, said the seminar clicks for students in that it’s a career they might want to pursue.
“Being exposed to it, it gets you thinking about it,” she said.
The following schools took part in this year’s seminar: Bishop Noll Institute, Crown Point High School, East Chicago Central High School, Gavit High School, Hammond Academy of Science & Technology, Hammond High School, Highland High School, Hobart High School, Lake Central High School, Lew Wallace STEM Academy, Lowell High School, Marquette Catholic High School, New Prairie, New Vistas, Portage High School and Seton Academy.