Thank you, Carowinds!

July 27th, 2017 by Jill Barclay

Writing-hydraulics-design process-communication! These all stick out to me as I reflect on the week behind me. Writing and hydraulics especially jump out to me because I’m not sure how much either have been on my STEM radar.

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Chris Foshee, Manager of Digital Marketing, and I learned about his role at Carowinds. HIs primary responsibility is media outreach and the digital presence for the park. He talked about SEO-search engine optimization and CRM-customer relation management and $2 spent online yields $40. These points were all informative, but the piece that continues to stick out to me a week later is our conversation about writing. When I asked him what we can do to better prepare our students for the workplace, without hesitation he said writing. He could not emphasize enough the importance of writing. While his job heavily relies on technology equally important is the craft of communicating through writing. He mentioned good writing is the ability to evoke emotion in as little copy as possible.

At the beginning of this week I had the opportunity to attend a “Principles of Industrial Hydraulics.” Philip, another fellow, arranged for me to spend the day at Livingston and Haven, an industrial technology provider, where he is interning. We were able to tour their facility last Friday. They host multiple trainings throughout the year, and this week was one of them where engineers, electricians, and maintenance personnel came together from various parts of the country and industries to learn the basics of hydraulics. How awesome is that-that they offer these institutes to promote higher learning to not only their employees but others in the field. It might have been basic to them, but it was far from basic to me:-) My main takeaway is hydraulics are so powerful yet can be so dangerous because they are nonlinear and forced by a spring. Big, scary stuff!

Another highlight of my week was attending Engineering Camp Charlotte through NC State’s College of Engineering. Steve Jackson, director of maintenance and construction, and Carowinds’ engineer, spoke to a large group 3rd-5th graders as they were working on a challenge pertaining to the park: No Traffic Theme Park. Mr. Steve was able to give them ideas about how to position bathrooms, games, souvenirs, food, rides, etc, as they started the design process. Location-location-location.It was an authentic experience for the campers to meet an actual engineer and hear him talk about his field:-) It was so cool to see the process in action with elementary students. I love that this process isn’t just happening at my school but is spreading everywhere.

Communication-communication-communication. This happens in ALL fields and EVERYWHERE! At Engineering Camp the director asked the campers how they were working with their team. Yesterday, I had a chance to spend time with the sales operations manager at Carowinds, and he had to deal with an unhappy, almost nasty customer. He remained calm and allowed her to communicate her frustrations, and at the end of the day, there was miscommunication, moreso on her end. It takes collaboration to communicate. I never thought about the last statement I just made until now, but why is that-why does it take collaboration to communicate?

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