Journeys to Miami Regionals: The Most Important Decision

Graeme Guinup Graeme Guinup is confident that his experience with internships and work co-ops will give him a distinct advantage when he graduates from Miami University Regionals with his B.S. in Applied Science with a major in Mechanical Engineering Technology.

"An internship is basically on-site learning that provide real work experience," he said. "Just going to school is important, but in the end, having a degree without work experience makes it difficult to start a good career. When you go to an employer for an interview and they ask what you've done, you have real work experience to offer. In my field, companies are always looking for engineers that can design and have valuable experience because they don't want to hire someone they have to train from scratch."

Three experiences have given him a broad range of opportunities to learn and gain that valuable experience. Graeme completed his first co-op while pursuing his Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering Design at Cincinnati State before transferring to Miami Regionals to complete his Bachelor's degree.

Graeme's first co-op was with Wornick Foods in Blue Ash. "They specialize in food packaging. It is mostly refrigeration-free foods, such as baby foods, boil-in-bag rice, and military rations. I helped them catalogue their packaging and write up documentation so people on the production floor could look up and see what box they will be using," he said. "It was interesting to see how an assembly line works. I never had any experience with that before. It was eye-opening. The machines they use were always interesting to watch."

His first Miami Regionals' internship was at Meyer Tool in Cincinnati, where he was able to help design and create fixtures to hold aircraft parts so they wouldn't move while others grinded, welded, drilled holes for maintenance and product updates. "I spent a year there learning about and working with a system called NX Unigrafix. This is a 3-D modeling program not taught at Miami," he said. Graeme said that it was valuable because there are a lot of different programs, each with its own niche. They all do the same things but do them differently. He enjoyed working on oddly-shaped parts, like wings and vanes, and gaining experience that he couldn't get anywhere else in the region. "It was really hard to create fixtures, but I learned to create and revise quite a few during that year."

Graeme senior design project

Graeme Senior Design project, 3-D printing planetary gears.

Graeme then moved to an internship with Advanced Drainage Systems in Hamilton. "That was a little bit different. I worked on machines that created plastic pipes. So instead of just creating fixtures I was working on full-blown machines that make large pipes up to 64 inches in diameter. I had not worked with plastic extrusion, so it was interesting to see how many parts they needed for things to actually work together. I helped design and create a number of fixtures for their operations. It was challenging doing those designs."

Currently, Graeme is finishing his Senior Design project, which focuses on 3-D printing. He first became interested in 3-D printing while a student at Mason High School. Graeme had access to a printer that uses gypsum to create plaster-of-Paris like 3-D models. "I enjoy designing something and then seeing it created. I love the idea of the process that happens when an idea results in the fabrication of an item. That's why I like 3-D printers. I can take an idea and produce it in a reasonable amount of time."

His Senior project is creating five sets of planetary gears. This will be a teaching tool to help engineering students learn about gear ratios and other math concepts involving gears. Graeme says, "The designs are purely academic. This show that students can actually start making prototypes as lab projects. A 3-D printer makes this easy to do." When completed, the gear sets will also fit together in a gearbox array for a more spectacular effect.

Graeme has no definite plans after graduation, but, because of his internships and co-ops, he has plenty of opportunities already. He has been asked to return to work at several of the the places where he completed worked. "I'm also looking for other avenues. I do like variety. Learning to do different things is the great of part of doing an internship and co-op. You can learn about different companies and how they work and gain a variety of skills that allow you to work in different fields. Employers know that. If I had not gained these valuable work experiences, I don't believe I would have these great opportunities." Whatever Graeme decides this summer, he says, "The education I received from Miami Regionals and the doors that have been opened have already given me a leg up. Choosing the Regionals was the most important decision, and I know I made the right one."