Last Piece of the Puzzle

By:    Staci Jones
Date: July 3, 2018

From completing co-op to participating in student organizations, July Engineer of the Month Matthew Stang found great value in even the small pieces that fit together to create the puzzle that was his college career.

Matthew Stang, mechanical engineering student and July Engineer of the Month

Two primary reasons led July Engineer of the Month, Matthew Stang, to choose the University of Cincinnati’s (UC) College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) – the cooperative education (co-op) program and the advising atmosphere.

Matthew believes that as a mechanical engineering major, UC’s co-op program was an obvious attraction, as the ability to obtain in-field experience while earning his undergraduate degree was invaluable toward developing a well-rounded resume.

Concerning the advising atmosphere, Matthew states, “It was apparent to me that the advisers at UC were ready to challenge me to be aggressive with my education and career goals. For example, as a prospective student I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Aimee Frame, assistant professor-educator and one of the mechanical engineering advisers, who reviewed my transfer credits from high school and encouraged me to take a differential equations course during my first semester if I was ready for the challenge.”

In addition to Dr. Frame’s advisement, Matthew states that he received tremendous support from both his honors advisor, Jason Autry, and his co-op adviser, Rich Robles, in navigating his honors experiences and job opportunities respectively.

“The unique co-op program and exceptional advising support are ultimately why I chose UC and certainly can also be attributed to my success once I arrived,” said Matthew.  

Matthew completed four co-op rotations with Setco, a Cincinnati-based machine tool manufacturer specializing in the engineering, design and manufacturing of machine tool spindles and slides.

His first co-op rotation was in Cincinnati, where he completed a range of duties including releasing completed orders to the shop, assisting in the completion of detail drawings for new orders, creating engineering change notices and revising existing drawings when necessary, and reverse engineering parts needed for the repair department.

“It was a good first experience that laid the groundwork for my future co-op rotations as I learned the technical details on Setco’s products and processes,” reflected Matthew.

During his second co-op, he had the opportunity to work at Setco's repair facility in Novi, Michigan.  His main task was helping improve Setco's ISO documentation, which primarily came in the form of drafting standard work instructions for commonly repaired spindles.  In addition, he was able to shadow the internal and external ISO auditors and created a number of quality insurance forms.

“Although not as engineering intensive, these tasks proved valuable in helping me gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the spindle as a product as well as challenged me to win support of the shop employees to facilitate the drafting of the documents,” stated Matthew.

For his third co-op rotation, Matthew returned to Setco’s headquarters where his responsibilities were similar to his first rotation with an increased emphasis on detailing for new product releases.

Matthew’s final co-op rotation was also at headquarters. He was moved to work in the application engineering department. There, his responsibilities were to interact with customers to receive product requests, uncover necessary information about their machining requirements/setups, design the initial concept product, price the concept product, complete the official quote, respond to any customer questions or concerns, and participate in the design review when an order was received and the concept was transferred to the production engineering department.

“This was an incredibly challenging semester that forced me to learn quickly and juggle multiple projects concurrently in order to be successful,” said Matthew.

Beyond his co-op rotations, Setco provided Matthew the opportunity to work part-time during some of his academic semesters which allowed him to stay up-to-date on projects occurring within the company as well as diversify his experience base by completing smaller projects in different departments.

“Overall,” stated Matthew, “I strongly feel that I had an extraordinary co-op experience that provided opportunities for me to develop as an engineer.”

Matthew’s development as an engineer began when he was a child. His favorite toys were Lego’s and K’NEX. He enjoyed using his hands to build and understanding how all of the smaller components had the ability to come together to form a complicated complete product.

“I ultimately focused in on mechanical engineering as it was the perfect fit to unite my academic strengths with my extracurricular passions in addition to being broad enough to give me access to a number of industries in the event that my passions evolved during my collegiate experience,” said Matthew.

Matthew is currently excited for the process of developing his reputation as an engineer, be it through learning the industry, refining his technical skills, creating personal connections, or through the quality of his work itself. Building relationships and learning to trust others was one of the biggest challenges that Matthew has faced both in the classroom and during co-op rotations.

“I realized that in order to grow as an engineer, I needed to open myself up to other people and be willing to trust them,” he reflected. “Working on this skill was difficult for me as I have the underlying desire to control my own destiny. However, I have improved on trusting others and now feel excitement for team activities and projects.”

Beyond learning to work as a team, Matthew advises future students to recognize the value in even the small pieces that fit together to create the puzzle that is their college years.

“Whether it is co-op, learning to live with roommates or on your own, student organizations or campus athletics, acclimating to a new location, dealing with pressures or failures, or countless others, these are all a part of your education and should be recognized for their value in defining who you are as a person,” said Matthew. “During my time at UC, I saw a number of my peers (and even myself at times) lose sight of how valuable all of these college experiences are through the process of becoming consumed with academics. I think it is valuable to tangibly remind students that although academics are important, they ultimately are only a small portion of who you are and should never compel you to sacrifice the other portions.”

After graduating in April 2018 with a major in mechanical engineering and a minor in management, Matthew accepted a position with Honda in Marysville, Ohio as a part of their Engineer Development Program (EDP). This program consists of a two-year rotation where he will have the opportunity to cycle through departments before and after his ending role to make connections and gain organizational insight.

Matthew hopes that at the end of his two year commitment, he will begin working in his targeted role.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science congratulates Matthew Stang on his outstanding achievements thus far and as the July Engineer of the Month.

Select for previous Engineers of the Month.