Making a Lasting Impression

As part of a final senior project, I was required to make a written report developing automobile safety features. Easy enough, surprisingly, a few reference books from Volvo, the leader in automobile design at that time, provided the fodder for my report.

My roommate, the other woman in my class in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering school, also completed her report in good time. I would have really expected a more involved report, and we both received good grades on them. It just seemed like it should have been harder.

We had a few days before the reports were due and so we decided to make another report, a joint report on some really far out ideas for car safety. Our professor had known us at that point for a few years and really supported our progress.

We dreamt of things like a set of wings the car sprouted when caught in traffic to fly above the crowd, a bulldozer front end to swipe the cars driven by jerks out of the way and sensors for the car to find its way without driver aid. Quite the visionaries we were back then. Complete with illustrations, we almost spent as much time working that report as the ‘real’ ones for score.


The professor loved it and congratulated us on our creativity. I was glad we made the time for this extra effort, although it was a tongue-in-cheek look at engineering.


Fast-forward about twenty-five years I worked for a local chemical company and in my capacity as a project engineer, looked for energy alternatives. We’d been approached by a landfill gas vendor with potential to save thousands of dollars on the natural gas bill. We looked for other options to cut utility costs.

I knew this professor and his son had started a wind energy firm that according to recent articles in the local newspaper was very successful. I took a chance that he might remember me and contacted him by phone one afternoon.

After that awkward “you probably don’t remember me, but” introduction, he laughed and said of course he remembered me. “You wrote that crazy car report!” I almost dropped the phone.

My creative juices have grown over the years, that crazy car report was just the start as was the impression I made on that college professor many years ago. You just never know…

I’m still taking comments to provide a free coffee to one of our soldiers via the ‘Cup of Joe for a Joe’ program. I’ll buy up to thirty cups in exchange for thirty comments. No obligation for you by commenting, I don’t know how to spam, I’d just love the feedback. Thanks for reading and commenting!


About stemzandroses

I'm an engineer and writer with a built-in need to share my nearly 40 years of experience working in a male-dominated field with the rest of the world.
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4 Responses to Making a Lasting Impression

  1. That reminded me of the time I wrote my old Operating Systems Design professor about some software a client was using to run Windows apps on UNIX (this was in early 1996). I think what drove me to seek a clue from him was that I remembered him to be approachable.

    He replied, saying that he had moved on from the “Banks of the Old Raritan”, and that the weird Windows emulator (WABI) wasn’t really all that good at what it was supposed to do.

    • It is funny to think that a professor would remember a student. My education was at the University of Oklahoma with thousands of students. How special does it feel to know that your professor remember you? Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. CE Jones says:

    I’ve always envisioned a kind of remote control that you could point at a car driven by some jerk. When you pressed the button, their ignition system would be destroyed. LOL

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