Angolano, a 22-year-old mechanical engineering technology major
at Oklahoma State University, always liked breaking things.
"I tell people that what I do for a living is break stuff
because I'm a component engineer," he says.
As an engineering co-op student
at Mercury Marine's testing facility in Stillwater, Okla.,
Angolano works on pushing the limits of the components that
make up the inboards and stern drives assembled at the plant.
"We test the components before or after they go on the
boat," Angolano says. "That's something I enjoy
As a fourth year student at OSU,
Angolano participates in the school's engineering co-op program
that allows students like him to gain experience in the real
world while pursuing their studies. Always interested in the
mechanics of the world around him, Angolano knew mechanical
engineering was right for him. "It just always fit,"
he says. "When I was younger we used to play with Legos
and I always ripped my toys apart to find out how they worked--to
see what the gears do. Most of the time I'd break them."
Angolano doesn't get in trouble
for breaking things anymore. It's all part of the job.
Sometimes he and other engineers
at the plant have to take their testing elsewhere. He says
that when working for a subsidiary of Mercury Marine, MerCruiser,
this can mean a trip out to a nearby lake to put a ski boat
through the paces.
Angolano's position in the testing
division requires him to have a detailed knowledge of computers
and mathematics. His supervisor, test engineer Tim Lowery,
said that he encourages his co-ops to be active in their pursuit
In addition to his responsibilities
at MerCruiser, Angolano is involved with a number of professional
organizations on the student level. He is a co-chair of OSU's
chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the vice
president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers
and a member of the Fluid Power Society at school. He says
that his experiences with these groups and at work have helped
him to grow as an engineer.
"We are focusing a lot in
engineering on groups and presentations and working with people
even if you might not like them," Angolano says. "There
is a group atmosphere in engineering work these days, such
as getting other people's perspectives on a project. That's
why this is a great preparation for the workforce."
According to OSU's co-op coordinator
Cathy Southwick, a student has never complained to her about
their co-op experience at OSU. This is in spite of the fact
that it can sometimes add year to their studies. "It
makes theory more real," she says. "Most students
report that their grades are better."
The accumulation of that new knowledge
is aided by a head start, Angolano says.
"There is a great learning
curve when you first start a job," he says. "They
say it takes three years to learn a job. Doing what we're
doing with the co-op, it's drastically cutting that down.
You come out here and work and by the time you graduate you
already have had a year and a half of work."