Meet Carolyn Berneman, A 19-Year-Old Manufacturer Ready to Create the Future

While rapidly advancing technologies are changing the way manufacturers work, one thing remaining constant is that manufacturers are creating the future.

Modern manufacturing jobs are high-tech and in-demand—and many allow people with an interest in problem solving and an eye for creativity to tackle tough problems and build lasting solutions.

Carolyn Berneman, a college sophomore studying mechanical engineering at Iowa State University, is one of the men and women of manufacturing who are up to the task.

“I first became interested in pursuing a career in STEM after I joined my middle school MathCounts team,” Carolyn told us. “From there I was drawn to engineering because I knew that my work could improve the world around me.”

Carolyn is an engineering intern at Sukup Manufacturing Co., an Iowa-based and family-owned manufacturer of grain bins and dryers. She started as a manufacturing intern, where she took part in the process of manufacturing nuts, bolts and sheets of steel into grain dryers. As an engineering intern, she is able to get involved in the process even earlier in design work.

Carolyn has always had a knack for creativity growing up, whether it is arts and crafts, music and theater or designing and building her own toys. As she told us, “When I chose to major in engineering, it seemed like a very technical field for someone who had always been so involved in the arts. However, it has actually provided me with another way to express my creativity, just with a focus on solving problems.”

One way Sukup is solving problems? By manufacturing an innovative product called a Safe T Home(R), a hurricane-proof structure made of modified grain bins that can withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour. Their Safe T Home(R)  is saving lives: one hundred percent of the 200 homes in Haiti at the time of 2016’s Category 4 Hurricane Matthew survived with minimal damage. Putting manufacturing skills to work to produce products that are helping save lives around the world like the Safe T Home(R) is one of the most impactful benefits of a modern manufacturing career.

For so many students, the only thing separating them from a well-paying and rewarding career in manufacturing is the knowledge that the jobs are out there and, oftentimes, a misguided perception about what those jobs are like.

“I would encourage students, especially girls, to not discount a career in manufacturing because of any negative perceptions,” Carolyn said. “I had been unsure going into my own internship because I had just never imagined myself working in manufacturing. However, I soon found out that I really liked the teamwork and hands-on aspects of the job. I realized just how important all parts of the manufacturing process are to our everyday lives.”

Carolyn has heeded the call “Creators Wanted” in manufacturing and is well on her way to building the brighter future our country strives for, as the men and women of manufacturing have long done.

“It’s no secret that there are a lot of problems in the world, and I want to do my part in solving them,” Carolyn said. “Innovation is necessary to propel the world into the future, and manufacturing is an essential part of making that happen.”

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