For nearly 25 years, PLTW has offered transformative classroom and learning experiences for PreK-12 students. Now, many of those students are professionals in STEM fields. We recently reached out to several PLTW alumni to learn more about their educational and career journeys and find out what advice they have for current PLTW students. If you are a PLTW alumnus interested in sharing your story, we’d love to hear from you here.
Madelyn Cameron lives in College Station, Texas and is a structural engineering intern on the facilities design team at Garver. In high school, Madelyn completed Civil Engineering and Architecture in the PLTW Engineering program.
In what grades did you participate in PLTW? What were some of your most memorable experiences from PLTW?
I took PLTW in my senior year. PLTW is the reason I was able to start my civil engineering career at a young age and gain experience that my peers at the time did not have. This opportunity opened doors for me early in college that I did not expect to have, including an internship with NASA at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) my junior year of college, leadership roles in civil engineering organizations at Texas A&M University, and the opportunity to attend a PLTW conference to discuss my experience.
What did your journey look like to get to where you are today?
My journey has consisted of hard work with some luck along the way. The opportunity to start shadowing Garver was complete luck combined with my willingness to accept new challenges and never turn down an opportunity for growth. When Mr. Strong asked our Civil Engineering and Architecture class who wanted to be a civil engineer, I raised my hand. I did not want to be a civil engineer; I was only a senior in high school and frankly I didn't know what I wanted to be. The way Mr. Strong asked the question made me think that he had some sort of opportunity in mind so that's why I raised my hand. I was told to accept every opportunity you're given, and I'm grateful I did. I began shadowing Mitchell McAnally at Garver in the aviation department. This opportunity turned into a paid internship, which turned into me working part-time in college for another office. As of today, I have worked for three of Garver's five business lines (aviation, water, and facilities).
I credit a caring, passionate teacher and PLTW for getting me started on this journey. Hard work and great mentors along the way have gotten me a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering at Texas A&M University and I will be graduating with my Master of Science in structural engineering this December.
What is your current role within your company? What are your responsibilities in this position?
I am currently working as a structural engineering intern on Garver's facility design team. I do structural design for buildings, as well as rehabilitating older structures. In this position, I spend most of my time designing and doing calculations for design with the occasional client meeting.
What did you learn in PLTW that still helps you today?
Most of what I learned from PLTW was outside of the classroom. Inside of the classroom though, PLTW exposed me to design software used in engineering and exposed me to concepts to help me get a better understanding of the engineering industry.
Do you have any advice for current PLTW students?
Take every opportunity given to you. Little do you know; it could turn into a passionate career. I didn't expect it to, but here I am.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would just like to say thank you to PLTW. The organization significantly impacted my career in the most positive way imaginable. I would not be where I am today without PLTW and Mr. Strong, I am truly grateful for the opportunity I was given.
PLTW provides PreK-12 schools, teachers, and students with hands-on, interdisciplinary STEM-based curriculum that uniquely prepares students for life and their future careers.
PLTW rejuvenates teachers, providing world-class experiences that keep them on the forefront of how to prepare students for the demands of tomorrow. PLTW:
- Has provided professional development opportunities to more than 80,000 teachers giving them the support and resources needed to inspire students
- Offers best-in-class teacher training: PLTW Core Training with Master Teachers
- Continuously updates teacher resources that are available on demand
- Facilitates teacher networking opportunities
- Develops curriculum by a team of writers, many of whom are former teachers
Learn more about PLTW on pltw.org