Paving the Way for Engineering Students
Instructor of Engineering Sheri Campeau has always wanted to be an engineer — in fact it’s been a dream of hers. From the summers at her grandfather’s gas station in Wyoming, to her 20 years at General Motors, and finally to Bethel’s campus teaching, Campeau has pursued her unorthodox passion for automobiles and sheet metal for a good portion of her life.
Recently, I was able to discuss her career with her and the opportunities that she is creating for other students in the Midwest to have an engineering career too.
KB: Tell me about your educational background.
SC: I have a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from GMI Engineering & Management Institute (currently Kettering University) and an M.S. in Manufacturing Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
KB: What first interested you in engineering?
SC: I have always been interested in automobiles and spent many summers working at my grandfather’s gas station in Wyoming. During my sophomore year in college, I attended the Urbana Missions Conference and felt a clear call to stay in engineering — maybe it was because God wanted me here (at Bethel) some day! I chose GMI because I really liked the idea of being able to co-op while going to college. My sister had gone to GMI and she had some really cool experiences as a student with General Motors. During my time as a student engineer, I fell in love with automobiles and sheet metal.
KB: Tell me about your career experience, including your time at General Motors.
SC: I was with General Motors for about 20 years and did everything from manufacturing engineering to teaching both hourly and salary employees. One of my most interesting positions was as a vehicle systems engineer. I was responsible for all the sheet metal, including complete door systems, for two future Cadillacs. That meant I interfaced with design staff, Cadillac marketing and all the engineers doing the detailed work. I learned about the whole process of developing a vehicle.
KB: How did you get started teaching at Bethel?
SC: We moved from Lansing, Mich., in August 2011. I had taught math at Lansing Community College for a couple of years and fell in love with teaching. I contacted some of the colleges in this area and Bethel had a need for an adjunct to teach basic probability and statistics. When Dr. Bruce left, there was a need for someone to take over the engineering classes, so I moved into that position.
KB: How did you become involved with Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) academy? (STEM is a weeklong series of courses for grade school students that involve science and math courses.)
SC: As a result of meeting with the assistance superintendent for instruction, I had a meeting with the principal at Penn High School and the STEM Academy coordinator. Through that connection, I began to serve as a resource for the Penn High School STEM Academy. I will be teaching engineering to elementary students this summer in the Jr. STEM Academy. I have partnered with a couple of PHM elementary teachers to develop a weeklong academy that combines math, science and engineering for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.
KB: How did you become involved with the PHM Career Fair? Why is it important?
SC: As an engineer for General Motors, I was involved with many career fairs and I truly enjoyed teaching young people about engineering. As soon as I knew I would be taking over the engineering position here at Bethel, I started thinking about doing a career fair and tried to figure out how to grow the program. Since my children are in the PHM schools, I started there. Many students don’t think college is in reach or just see it as a big unknown. The more often we can bring them to campus, the better!
The PHM Career Fair will be held on Thursday, March 7, in the Science Building on Bethel’s campus. Admission is free and open to all students currently in the STEM program.