Short of Heroes
Vern Maddox, P.E. Houston
To the Editor: "Déjà vu all over again."

Nice editorial (December 1998). It is good to see John Glenn and his accomplishments put into perspective. We have all heard too much nonsense about the politics of his recent space flight. The truth, as you so well stated it, is that the man is a hero and role model at a time when we badly need both. Many of our young engineers seem to be lost in the ozone, and I believe it's due to the lack of mentors, role models, heroes, or whatever you want to call those kind of folks. Thanks again.

Counter-Response Arthur B. Harris Troy, Mich. To the Editor: I have to admit that I don't recall the letter by Alexander R. Kovnat that appeared in the August 1998 issue, but I do have comments on the letters it generated in December 1998.

First, isn't it strange no one has suggested that one solution to the impact of our growing population on the world's resources is to stop that growth.

Second, I take great offense to the suggestion that an engineer who advocates more nuclear power "is obviously employed in some capacity in that industry" (Ronald P. Blackburn's letter, "Steamed Up," December 1998)—in other words, such an engineer has prostituted himself. If that is the way my fellow engineers feel about the competence and motives of their colleagues, what is the future of our society?

Too Much Education? Eric Dalton North Augusta, S.C. To the Editor: I have read with great interest these last few months the debate about who is an engineer and who isn't. My recent experience relates to this, yet I am not quite sure how. I am a senior at the University of South Carolina, but I also spent eight years in the naval nuclear power program and three years as an assistant maintenance supervisor for a textile manufacturer.

I interviewed recently at a company for what I believed to be an entry level engineering position. I learned after an hour of interviews that what they were really after were shift supervisors and machine technicians. I asked the last gentleman with whom I interviewed if personnel from the line, operators, could be promoted to the shift supervisor position. He said yes. I also discovered that the technical support position could, and should, be filled by a tech school grad.

I was slightly offended for all engineers that they actually thought anyone would accept a position that in reality requires no education at all, just good leadership skills like those developed in the military.

Too many people are going to college. This has caused a glut of college grads and has caused employers to require a degree for jobs that previously had no such need. I knew this was happening to business grads, but did not think that it was happening to us as well.

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