– Kalc Vang
Q&A with Kalc Vang
Team Leader, Structural Adhesives Product Engineering
Representing: North Dakota State University
Technical Skills: My main goal is to demonstrate how there are better ways to build containers without mechanical fasteners. Most engineering schools teach welding as the only viable bonding technique. I look forward to teaching my team about the benefits of adhesives and tapes—in terms of time to market, weight and other considerations. I aim to instill that there are multiple ways to design and put things together without sacrificing performance.
Soft Skills: Teamwork is a crucial skill in the real world, and especially important for engineers. When I was in school, teamwork taught me how to adjust my attitude and hear all perspectives. When my team accomplished something, it was due in part to our listening skills and motivation to succeed. I’m excited to teach young minds the best ways to successfully collaborate.
First and foremost, be open minded. Don’t limit yourself to one or two ideas. It’s better to have too many ideas and then narrow them down, rather than put up artificial barriers.
Second, let everyone have a say—not just the team captain. Success doesn’t come from one, it comes from many.
Third, learn how to provide constructive criticism. I always try to be positive, but realistic when I disagree. For instance, I might say, “Let’s analyze this a bit closer and see if there are any ways to improve this idea.”
Finally, take a step back and recognize what a cool opportunity this is. Working with a well-known company like 3M not only exposes you to engineering experts but creates lifelong memories and widens your professional network.