Volunteer Profile: Marc Anderson

With over 400 schools registered for a free school visit from an engineer, we caught up with some of the volunteers to talk about why they volunteer to visit secondary schools and talk about the exciting career opportunities available in engineering. 

What's your name and where do you volunteer?

Marc Anderson, Galway. I’ve visited secondary schools and a career fair in the Galway City area.

What type of engineer are you?

I’m a Senior R&D Engineer at Medtronic.  I studied as a Mechanical Engineer and I work in teams with Bio-Medical & Materials Engineers to innovate new medical devices to treat conditions of heart disease.

How and why did you get involved with STEPS?
It was advertised internally at Medtronic, and I remembered how little I knew about engineering when I first looked at it as a career path in High School in the US.  Knowing that there are students now with the same questions I once had, I felt it would be beneficial to speak with them.

Describe your volunteer experience? What happened? Did you enjoy it? Did the students participate and interact? 
At the school visit, we presented in a team of two to the students.  Initially we had a dialogue about the many careers in engineering, and then we took time to tell our story which focused on being able to work globally and in teams with friends.
The students interacted by listing out what engineering professions they knew of and we added in any missing ones.  The students were able to get hands-on with a prosthetic aortic heart valve, which we froze and compressed to a compact size and allowed them to drop it into body temperature water and watch it immediately spring back into the original shape, drawing gasps from the students and teacher alike.

As a volunteer, what benefits do you get? 
As a parent, it’s interesting to see various schools in which you could send your children.  As a volunteer, it’s rewarding to talk openly about day-to-day work and university life to the student thinking about engineering as a career and also to raise awareness of engineering with others who may not always understand what engineering is.