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Mentoring Rocks

A few weeks back, I arrived at the office and started my day by reading my email, as I usually do. The newest message in my inbox was from my boss, and was two sentences long.

Come to my office as soon as you get in. If the door is closed, come in anyways.

I had a brief “uh-oh” moment. I thought that I possibly coded something wrong on a recent project, and maybe I was going to be scolded for my rookie mistake!

Upon walking into my bosses office, I found out that I had not made a warehouse crash and burn (phew!). He informed me that I would have a local high school student shadowing me for the day. His name was Andrew, he was a Senior, and was interested in pursuing a career in engineering. His dad was friends with an employee at my company, who offered him the opportunity to come visit.

Lucky for Andrew, I wasn’t going to be sitting at my desk writing code all day. That definitely would have been the most boring six hours of his life if he just watched me type away. I had plans to test with our conveyor and MultiShuttle teams for an upcoming project – something that would produce very visible, hands on results that could easily be understood by someone outside of my field.

I was fortunate to be able to spend a good deal of time conversing with him about what he likes to do, subjects he enjoys in school, and plans for college. It was fun to be able to look at someone with their entire future ahead of them and still be able to relate, knowing that I was in his shoes not too long ago. Andrew said to me that very interested in math and science, liked creating things he could see work, and did community work in his spare time. I was impressed he was already in an engineering design class in high school – I could have only dreamed of taking a course like that when I was his age! He wanted to attend UW-Platteville, a school that produces great engineers in Wisconsin. He is on the right track to be an engineer one day.

Today I received a letter in the mail from him thanking me for taking the time to show him what I do for a living. I’d never mentored anyone before, and I found it very rewarding to show someone what they could do, and give them some advice. Getting a letter from Andrew knowing that he was thankful for my time made it even better!