It's not uncommon for college students to begin their coursework with a broad idea of what they would one day like to do for a career, only to discover a niche they truly love and begin to follow a specific path.
What's rewarding is when, 20 years down the road, they've become a recognized specialist in the field they continue to enjoy.
For Scott Strobl (BSE '88, MS '92), who came to PSU to pursue a degree in technology education, it was his work with Dr. Russ Rosmait, an engineering technology professor at PSU, that led him to the discovery of foundry and metal casting work.
"Initially I was excited about anything technical, but when I got involved in metal casting, I loved it. Pouring molten metal into a sand mold to create a metal casting is a process I find fascinating," Strobl said. "PSU introduced me to the metal casting process. The university provided me with the skills to succeed."
After finishing his degree, he learned about an opening with the American Foundry Society, a teaching and training position that gave him the opportunity to focus on a defined area of technology. His career grew from there, and after being recruited to Simpson Technologies in Aurora, Ill., 18 years ago (he now serves as the executive vice president of the company), his interest in foundry work took a more entrepreneurial spin: he developed a new instrumentation for measuring the quality of foundry sand, one of the critical components of the metal casting formula. Strobl was awarded a patent for his creation, and in 2000 was recognized by his alma mater with PSU's Outstanding Alumni Award.
Every few years, he returns to campus to speak to current students as well as industry peers, sharing with them what he's learned along the way. In addition, he continually lectures worldwide in countries like Australia, Germany, India and China, and has published numerous articles on the metal casting industry.
"The training part of my job is great for me, because I like to get out and help people," he said. "To come back and give something to the university and to the metal casting industry is extremely rewarding for me. PSU provided me the knowledge and skills I have used throughout my career."