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Kelly Chu

Group Lead
Mechanical Engineering
Story originally published on Aug 2020
I’m a group lead responsible for the Mechanics and Computation and the Biomechanics groups in the Mechanical Engineering department.

I’ve been here for three years and my job is to support faculty – we have about 12 total within the two groups – and their students with what they need. That can mean anything from approving financial transactions to helping visitors to our department and any upcoming events, etc.

When COVID started, I took over managing the 3D printing course kits for multiple courses, in Mechanical Engineering as well as music and studio art classes that require the ability to print. If you’re a student, it’s pretty nice – you receive a 3D printer, a spool of filament, digital caliper and an enclosure tent. It looks like a straightforward process, but it requires a lot of organization to put all the pieces together. Each quarter requires as many as 150 to 200 printers. It was the first time my department had to process something like this, so there was no one to ask when I ran into problems.

There were definitely issues I encountered, like websites running out of items because we ordered in such big quantities. There were even times I needed to monitor my work emails until midnight to see if I would get responses from international suppliers. And because of the pandemic, some students were back in their home countries – the UK, Australia, Austria, Greece, you name it. So that was an extra layer to work through. It was a lot of juggling but a good challenge that taught me a lot.

This job really centers on customer service and helping people, which is great for me because I truly enjoy helping others. Whether it’s students or faculty, I feel rewarded in making things easier or more innovative for them.

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