“Men Who Built America” The Show That Started Building My Future in Engineering

In the 7th grade, I watched an episode of a television series showed to me by my teacher that would forever redefine the course of my life and catapult me into a career I didn’t expect myself to enter. That series was, “Men who Built America” episode 3, “Changing the Game.” This episode covered Tesla vs. Edison in the debate on AC vs. DC electricity. After watching the episode I was left with tons of questions: How does electricity work? What is AC electricity? What is DC electricity? How does electricity even work? It was because of these gaps in my knowledge that I began researching electrical engineering related concepts and diving deeper into the world of electricity.

The electrical concepts I researched acted as a segway for me into other areas of engineering such as mechanical engineering which I would later fall in love with. One specific category of mechanical design I fell in love with was CAD and 3D design. A couple of months into my 8th-grade year I bought a cheap 3D printer off of Amazon and started teaching myself, CAD. My interest in the subject would eventually catch the eye of the same teacher that showed me the very television show that got me into engineering. My interest would cause him to convince the principal to let him buy a 3D printer and start a class teaching computer design; a class I would take in ninth and tenth grade to get my associates and professional certifications in the CAD program Solidworks which is an industry-standard for engineers all over the world.

But let’s go back to middle school for a bit, shall we? Starting in the 8th grade, because of my newfound interest in the world of engineering I gained from “Men Who Built America” I decided that for a change an assignment that in the years before was a last-minute chore I would finally take seriously; this assignment was Science Fair. This idea to take science fair more seriously has without a doubt shaped my future and created the person I am today. My 8th-grade project of a piezoelectric generator won 1st place in the engineering category and best of the fair at the county level and would allow me to later move on to win 4th place at state. For the first time, I met people like me who were interested in the STEM field and excited to learn things taught outside the classroom, because of these experiences what had started as a change of attitude towards a teacher’s assignment would become a year-round obsession. I would move on to be the 3 times best of the fair winner in my county and place in the top 5 at state, 3 times, and be a 2-time international finalist as a 9th and 10th-grade student.

I am beyond grateful for “Men Who Built America” and the Tesla vs. Edison episode featured in it. Watching it opened opportunities for me I may have never had otherwise. Because of that episode, I will graduate high school with my AA degree geared towards Engineering in the Spring and move on to learn and further develop my old but newfound passion in Engineering. I am beyond grateful for that film and will never forget where it has lead me to today.

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