Interview by Julio Diaz
Mechanical Engineer Disha Barua shares with us how her passion for taking apart toys as a child motivated her to become an engineer and how Duro’s focus on eco-friendly engineering will shape her future career.
Julio Diaz: Let’s start at the beginning. Who are you and what made you want to become an engineer?
Disha Barua: My name is Disha and I major in Mechanical Engineering at CCNY. I’m currently also working as a Mechanical Engineer here at Duro.
I’ve always wanted to become an inventor. As a child, I would always break my toys and make them into something new, like a flying car or machine. I used to watch movies about these things and I understood that these things don’t happen like magic.
JD: What was your favorite toy growing up?
DB: I think cars and planes, actually. Regarding things I’ve broken, one time I broke my father’s radio set – my sister had fooled me into thinking there were little people singing inside the radio. I wanted to play with them so I took the radio apart and put it back together.
At the same time while going through the radio, I wondered about the components of it and how smart the person who made it was. I mean, a radio takes in a satellite and produces music – it’s like a magical machine! I wanted to be the person to make that magic happen.
JD: So your passion for taking toys apart is what encouraged you to major in mechanical engineering at CCNY?
DB: Absolutely. Actually, before university I actually did my schooling in Bangladesh.
JD: Really! And has your experience living in Bangladesh shaped your experience as an engineering student here in NYC?
DB: It’s more theoretical, not much project involved. First I wanted to do aeronautical engineering, but it was too expensive, that’s why I came to City College. Out of all of the CUNY Colleges, it’s the best cost-wise and has the best engineering program so far. I applied for the mechanical program and got in.
From my experiences in Bangladesh, it all depends on what you want and what interests you. I saw a lot of my relatives while I was growing up not happy about their work and that affected me. I don’t want to come home everyday unhappy and tired from my work. If I’m doing something I have to enjoy the work. So that’s what made me think would be my goal.
So it had to be something creative and inventive for me. I was inspired by a lot of scientists like Edison, Stephen Hawking and I read their works and biographies. Eventually I wanted to be like them and do what their doing. It’s very inspiring. Also my dad was inspiring, because he told me to be someone who will do something, so he got me a lot of books. It was amazing and really inspired me for what I wanted to do.
“I wanted to be the person to make that magic happen.”
JD: So what do you do here at Duro?
DB: As part of the mechanical engineering team, I am working on the development of an autonomous underwater vehicle. Here I can apply my theoretical knowledge practically and gain hands-on experience.
Part of the job is innovating existing designs and checking stability with physical and virtual experiments. Safety is one of the main concerns, especially since we are quickly finalizing designs and manufacturing our own components.
My responsibilities include ordering parts based on the design and balancing quality and cost. I have also assembled the Sherline Mill 2000 and learned its dependency software Mach3 with the assistance of another team member. I look forward to becoming familiar with the machine by continuing to improve my manufacturing skills.
JD: What made you want to work at Duro?
DB: I wanted to work at Duro because I believe in eco-friendly engineering. I also believe in creative engineering, but innovative engineers should always consider the environmental impacts of their creations.
I wish people were more educated about making these decisions, so I wanted to be a part of the solution. That’s what I truly love about Duro, it’s very environment-friendly.
JD: Do you have any future plans or goals for your career?
DB: I do have a goal and where I want to be, but I’m not exactly sure. I want to be an astronaut and I want to work in the International Space Station. But, I still want to be an engineer too. So I want to gather as much experience as I can so I could be a good engineer and maybe work at the Space Station. That would be my ultimate goal, but before I want to be a very skilled engineer and maybe even an inventor before being an astronaut.
[Following this interview Disha was accepted for a highly competitive mechanical engineering internship at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio]