Alas, it is time for me to say goodbye. It’s difficult not to get nostalgic when leaving a job that has introduced me to so many new friends, colleagues, cities, and innovative technologies.
As I look around my cubicle here in Madison, Wisconsin, I see a binder of old print issues I helped craft, scattered drafts of old articles, and scribbled thoughts for new blogs. I see props from old Engineering Newswire episodes and an abundance of stress balls from every trade show I’ve been too.
But as I look around, I think of how much I’ve grown as a person in this tiny, three-walled space. The 99 interviews on my voice recorder all exposed me to various technologies – whether a new spacecraft to take humans to Mars or a giant, 3D printed creature. Often times, I feel as if I’m back in school, soaking up new information, while taking notes with the hope that my articles pass the test (and you, my readers, are the critical teachers).
You all challenge me to delve deeper into my research for each and every article, thoroughly question any “ground-breaking” technology, and never stop learning. And that is exactly why I must say goodbye to Product Design & Development (PD&D).
I will be going back to school to obtain my master’s degree in urban planning (specifically environmental planning). I plan to pursue hazard mitigation planning, with the hope that I can help communities across the U.S. develop and implement hazard mitigation plans before disaster strikes (I’m looking at you New Orleans). Chronic flooding, tsunamis, fire-prone regions, and areas that experience earthquakes will all be places I’m drawn to live and work in.
This career path means that I will be working with many civil engineers to ensure that when hazards take place, their physical damage and economic and social costs are not a staggering blow to local communities. While I have greatly enjoyed covering robotics, aerospace, prototyping, and consumer electronics, my favorite topic has always been civil engineering.
I somewhat overzealously followed the expansion of the Panama Canal, the inauguration of the 35.4-mile Gotthard Base Tunnel through the Alps, and the lead pipe scandal in Flint, Michigan. Designs for new skyscrapers and bridges, such as the 3D printed steel bridge I covered for PD&D’s October 2015 print issue, challenge my black-and-white way of viewing the world.
I wouldn’t say I now look upon design engineering with rose-colored glasses. Obviously, there are designs and patents that will never become practical or safe. But I encourage you all to keep innovating, and pass that love of design onto your children and grandchildren.
I will gladly reap the benefits.
P.S. Please keep in touch via LinkedIn or Twitter, @kaylieannduffy
Filed Under: Infrastructure