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Full name

Eliza Dawson

Title

Mechanical Engineer

Blurb

I am a recent graduate in mechanical engineering with a fine art background seeking a position as a mechanical engineer in an innovative, collaborative company.

Biography

A love of art and a drive to make things lead me to pursue my first bachelor’s degree in studio art at the University of Arizona with a disciplinary focus in sculpture. During these four years I honed my craftsmanship and immersed myself in studio practice in sculpture and printmaking. By the time I completed my degree I had learned that while I love making things, I desired a more practical outlet for my creative drive, though I did not yet know what form this should take. Following graduation, I worked for outdoor retailer REI and a locally-owned children’s toy store. Both companies were unique in their commitment to providing the best products and service in their respective markets. Customer service provided me a unique learning opportunity through group product education and regular communication with customers. I learned how to ask the right questions in order to connect customers with the product that would help them have the best experience. Being a part of these organizations enriched my knowledge about specific products and what made them unique, from design and workmanship to material selection and sourcing. It was my wise sister who—probably at the end of one of my long exposes on the merits of some pair of hiking boots—said something that changed the course of my future. “You know,” she said, “somebody makes these things. Somebody designs all these products you get so excited about. You could do that.” After that I became increasingly aware and interested in the idea of engineering design as a means to solving practical everyday problems. I wanted to be part of this problem solving process which inspired my pursuit of a second bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Since entering the field of engineering I have gained valuable experience in research, outreach, and design. In the summer of 2014 I was selected to participate in a research internship program funded by the National Science Foundation. After spending the summer working with a team on the design of a new explosives detection technology, I was selected from among my peers to present a poster outlining my research at the Council on Undergraduate Research REU Symposium at the NSF headquarters in Arlington, VA.

As project lead in my senior year cross-disciplinary design capstone project, I gained meaningful experience in design and project management as it applies to solving practical problems. My created a successful prototype for an end user installable, low cost, leak and flood prevention system for residential toilets. Our project’s sponsor hopes to move this product forward to production and is in the process of obtaining a patent.

I recently completed two internships at design consultancies in the Washington State, most recently as a mechanical engineering intern at Synapse Product Development in Seattle. My time working in engineering design consultancy at Synapse and TEAGUE has served to strengthen my skills in hands on rapid prototyping techniques and given me valuable insight into design for manufacturing, product testing and the overall development process. I am a fast learner, a creative problem solver and my strong communication skills allow me to thrive while working on diverse teams. I look forward to having the opportunity to speak with you about how my experience coincides with your company’s needs.