E-Week with Framatome

Happy Engineers Week! We are celebrating for the third year in a row with our partner Framatome Inc. Each year we host a free Family Night Workshop where kids ages 8-12 and their caregivers can come together to learn about and explore engineering. We provide the tools and materials for a hands-on project, which changes every year. In the past we have done earthquake shaker tables and a giant pinko board.

This year, each family will make an art pendulum. With a wooden frame and moving platform, the pendulum will work by sliding under a pen or writing tool that is fixed in postition. When the hanging platform is pushed, the pen draws figures and elipses based on the pendulum movement. Students will tweak the height and movement or the platform as well as the color and type of writing utensil to create unique works of art.

Another feature of our E-Week celebration this year is highlighting a few of the engineers doing awesome work at Framatome and in our community. Let us introduce you:

Elisa Calvo Tone has a Masters Degree in Nuclear Energy and Renewable Sources Engineering. Her childhood dream of being an astronaut morphed into an engineering career dedicated to finding solutions for clean energy and better quality of life on our own planet.

Elisa uses post-it notes to record crazy ideas and discussion points for later reference. When not engineering, she enjoys baking with her toddler (brave woman), volleyball, knitting, and reading.

Meet Heshan Gunawardane, a Mechanical Engineer at Framatome. Heshan started tinkering and taking things apart at a young age, and followed his uncle and cousins into a career in engineering. He recalls, "Growing up in Kenya, I would go for holidays to my country of birth, Sri Lanka, and stay with at my uncle’s house.  He was a marine engineer, so he started out his career on commercial ships going around the world, before settling down in the government sector as he got older.  Two of his sons chose to pursue engineering as well, one a marine engineer, and the other an electrical engineer.  My uncle was always tinkering with stuff, fixing broken stuff around the house, or working on his cars.  I used to help him with these tasks, if it wasn’t too “dangerous” or I wasn’t in the way.  This combination of the family influence, my personal experience and a natural inclination towards the sciences and mathematics drove my decision to become an engineer."

Heshan enjoys listening to music, particularly vinyl, as well as reading, traveling, and hitting the gym. The one item on his desk he can't do without: his coffee mug. We feel you, Heshan.

Pam Reed is a Mechanical Engineer that specialises in Plastic Product Design. She loves to walk out on a manufacturing floor and watch products roll off a press. The noise and the smell of industrial space brings a great feeling of accomplishment. When you’ve worked a design up from paper and developed the tooling and process to create it, the moment it culminates into a real life product is empowering!

Pam also loves to nerd out in the garden...learning about soil chemistry and plant characteristics is a favorite hobby. Like many of us she can be her own worst critic, so she keeps an inspirational message or quote on her desk to keep negativity at bay.

Aaron Pierce is a VCU grad with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He enjoys engineering because there is never a dull moment: each day presents a different problem to solve or an opportunity to learn something new.

Aaaron recently got into analog photography and film development, and has combined his interests in gardening and coffee by growing and roasting his own coffee beans.

Maya Chandrashekhar has BS and MS degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering. She loves problem solving, and being part of a field that has been making the impossible possible for centuries.

When she's not at work Maya enjoys hanging out with her kids and puppy, and cooking. She would be lost without her cell phone (wouldn't we all, Maya!).