Growing up near the cornfields of Granby, Mo., PSU alum Garret Davis expected that his time in college would point him toward a traditional career in which he would know exactly what each day would bring.
But after dabbling in different coursework, he discovered PSU offered one of the best manufacturing engineering technology programs in the country - and quickly changed his focus.
Now, every day literally includes a walk on the beach: In January, Davis was one of a select few recommended for a foundry engineer position with shipbuilding giant Northrop Grumman on the coast of Newport News, Va. Call it manufacturing, supersized.
"Some guys like cars, but I've always been a boat guy. Shipbuilding has been my dream," said Davis, whose job is to help design the molds for casting the components for all Navy carriers, submarines, destroyers, and Coast Guard cutters. He credits his networking opportunities through conferences he attended as a PSU student. "What I congratulate Pittsburg State for is that they push you to branch out and network, and that the work is so hands-on. You can learn from a book but getting your hands dirty helps you apply the theories you're learning."
Marveling at the kinds of experiences his job has provided, Davis feels like he's living a dream. Northrop Grumman is one of the nation's largest defense contractors, and is a manufacturer of nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy.
"I can walk out and stand in the largest dry dock, under the largest crane in the Western Hemisphere, and on the largest warship in the world. To be able to see the things I've seen is amazing," he said. "Coming to PSU opened my eyes. And it opened doors."