Do you want a career in Acoustic Engineering?
If you’ve ever considered a career in acoustic engineering then read on and hear the career path one Boeing employee took to realise their dream.
Pictured above: Boeing Acoustics Engineer Melissa Felix Delmar. “Persevere through the tough classes and keep your goal in mind.”
Melissa Felix Delmar attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA, and now works for Boeing in Seattle. We asked her about what a job in Acoustic Engineering entails, the classes she focused on in secondary school and at university, and advice for people who want to work towards a similar profession. Melissa is a great example of how grit, determination, and passion can take you where you want to go – she struggled with Maths at school, but that didn’t stop her from fulfilling her dream of becoming an engineer!
What is your field of work/ study?
I work in Acoustic Engineering for Boeing. My speciality is in Interior Noise, so the general objective of my job is to keep the inside of planes quiet. The challenge is doing so while keeping within weight and cost limitations. Every plane could be super quiet if you could add infinite weight, but the fact that you can’t keeps my job interesting.
What is your current job like?
I currently work in a research group that looks at new noise control treatment technologies for product development airplanes. I work on computer simulations and perform lab tests with a goal to mitigate interior airplane noise. The environment is fun and exciting because I get to work on different parts of the airplane; from the nose to the tail, there are many different areas that make noise. I even occasionally fly on flight tests to test out noise control packages on our wide-body airplanes.
When did you decide to pursue acoustic engineering?
I decided to pursue engineering when I was about 7 years old. I was interested in math and science, very curious about airplanes, and had parents that gave me the idea at a very young age. I also loved building things with LEGOs and K’NEX and taking things apart.
What were your favourite subjects in secondary school? What did you study at university?
In high school I loved Chemistry, Physics, and French. I went to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and my college major (as an undergraduate and a graduate student) was Mechanical Engineering. I also minored in French and Francophone Studies.
Who are your personal heroes?
I really look up to my Mom and Dad. My Mom is my biggest personal cheerleader for whatever goals I have in life and my Dad immigrated to this country when he was a teenager and went to college to become a Mechanical Engineer. Also, Amelia Earhart, of course!
Do you have any advice for students who might want to pursue a career in acoustic engineering?
My advice is to persevere through the tough classes and really keep your goal in mind. I loved Math but I was really not naturally talented at it. I had to spend really long hours studying, approach my teachers during their office hours, and get paired up with multiple tutors. Even with all that effort I definitely did not get all A’s (I even got a D once, gasp!). But it was definitely worth it – once I got through required math classes, I could move on to more fun classes like physics and dynamics.