UT Mechanical Engineer Rita Collier: The Places You’ll Go!

UT Mechanical Engineer Rita Collier: The Places You’ll Go!


So I had a friend down the street, and I really
hated having to walk all the time.
Just a lazy middle schooler, and um I thought,
hey like let’s build an electric go-cart.
My dad knew how to do all these things
so I was like, why not? Come on let’s build an electric go-cart.
And he jokingly told me to ask Ann Richards,
which is the former governor of Texas, for some money to do it.
And so I did; I didn’t know what I was doing.
I wrote her a letter saying hey, me and my
friend want to do this. Like, we don’t want
to just sit around and play video games all summer.
We want to do something, and so, um, she actually
wrote me a fifty-dollar check, which is hilarious,
and so my dad thought it was the greatest
thing. And we, you know, used an old fan motor
and put it all together with a bicycle handlebars
and some spare pieces of wood around the,
around the garage
and yeah we build an electric go-cart.
[music]
I grew up always knowing that I wanted to
do something for people
and Mechanical Engineering, you can do tons
of stuff that impacts the world
Like you know, you can do battery research,
try to solve the energy crisis.
We have faculty in the Mechanical Engineering
department who invented the lithium-ion battery, which is huge.
You know, explore other fuels, that’s the
thermo side of Mechanical Engineering.
You can do medical devices. The ‘ReNeu’
Robotics Lab is in the Mechanical Engineering department.
Projects for underserved communities takes
a lot of mechanical engineers.
So there is just a lot you can do with a Mechanical
Engineering degree to help other people.
[music]
My team is going to go to Nicaragua.
There’s a community center over there that,
um, just has a brand new medical clinic and
they really need a bathroom,
a working bathroom to go along with that.
What they do is they have “flush toilets”
and, um,
they pour water down a conventional toilet
that you would see here,
but that waste just goes straight into the
ground.
And so, bacteria from waste can seep into
the ground and then get in their natural water sources,
and then they drink that and eat the foods
that grow from those water sources and they get sick.
And so we’re building that, we’re building
a bathroom and a septic tank system to go along with it.
[music]
Anybody can sit around and dream of flying
cars, or you know, dream of the cure to cancer,
the cure to the energy crisis.
You know, anybody can sit around and dream
about it, but only engineers can actually figure it out.
I’m Rita Collier, and I’m a mechanical
engineer.

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