By Dr. Maureen Hunter
You want me to get into the TARDIS with Doctor Who?
STLE help you gain skills and experiences you didnt think possible.
I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS GETTING MYSELF INTO when I joined STLE 29 years ago as a student. I have to admit, I joined for the opportunity of attending a pizza party. The whole 29- year journey has been tremendous fun. But I grew along the way, initially unaware that I was also getting a far-reaching life education.
As your president, I’ve often felt like STLE is the TARDIS and I’m the Doctor’s companion. I’m talking about the TARDIS in the British science fiction television program Doctor Who. The TARDIS—short for Time and Relative Dimension in Space—is dimensionally transcendental, making it much bigger on the inside than it appears from the outside.
The outside world may sometimes see our industry as an old gear, as the TARDIS is an old-style British police box or booth. But keep in mind the police box was the place people went when they needed help and where the police went when they wanted to share information with each other. And that’s what STLE does, not in the world of science fiction but in the world of science friction.
This past year I really did feel like the Doctor’s companion—involved in time travel and adventures around the world. And I’d like to highlight some of the interesting things I learned.
I learned how truly important our industry is. I learned that we need outspoken advocates for our profession. We need to let the world know who we are. I also learned the benefit of working together with international organizations to share ideas and solve energy and tribological issues that can improve our lives, the environment and the global economy.
One of the more challenging projects I was involved in was strategic planning. I learned how to analyze research and membership studies and work with a team to develop projects to take STLE toward a collective vision of our future. We created an end-user Website that we plan to bring online in August. And we have nearly completed a Body of Knowledge in different technical areas to help members map an educational path to advance their careers. Both young professionals and seasoned experts are going to love this new product.
When the TARDIS brought me to Bolivia, Canada, China, Germany, Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S., I learned there are students everywhere hungry for the opportunity to take classes in tribology and lubrication engineering and to work in our industry. STLE is developing outreach programs for students and young professionals, including STEM Camps, career mapping and mentoring panel discussions at the new STLE Tribology Frontiers Conference and a Tribo-kit, a hands-on set of tribology experiments.
STLE is the machine that works to educate, innovate and advocate for our industry. And like the TARDIS, it’s bigger on the inside. Many of our members take a more passive role and are fed information through STLE’s many offerings. That’s OK. But I’d like to encourage members to take a more active role. If you volunteer for STLE, you’ll gain skills and experiences you didn’t think possible—and have fun doing it!
You’ll also gain experience that will differentiate you from your peers. You’ll learn to be successful in strategic planning, creative thinking, public speaking, writing and leading your colleagues. Becoming more involved with STLE helps uncover what makes you exceptional and instills the confidence in you to make solid career choices and deliver outstanding value to your company.
If this industry has treated you generously, consider leaving a small legacy to our STEM Camps or perhaps a scholarship for a university student working in the field of tribology. It doesn’t take much to make a big difference. I also learned how much I appreciate my family, my co-workers, my company, King Industries, Inc., and the STLE staff for its tremendous support. I especially want to thank the volunteers who are helping to shape STLE’s future.
When I climbed into the TARDIS with the Doctor one short year ago, I could not have anticipated the exciting adventures, opportunities and life experiences that would come my way. It’s been incredibly rewarding, fun, inspiring and educational.
I know STLE will have a great year with The Doctor’s next companion, our new president, Dr. Martin Webster, who starts with the advantage of already having a great British accent.
Maureen Hunter is the technical service manager for King Industries, Inc. in Norwalk, Conn.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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