Most of you have probably never heard of an Engineering degree in Materials Joining. One of the reasons might be that this is the first such undergraduate degree offered in the United States, recently approved for the 2004-05 academic year.
In one sense, this is not a new thing at LeTourneau University. Our founder, Mr. R. G. LeTourneau, long ago recognized the importance of metals joining (a.k.a. ‘welding’) as an industrial process. Professor Emeritus William Kielhorn enjoys telling of Mr. LeTourneau’s innovative and widespread use of a then-novel process known as Submerged Arc Welding in the manufacture of earthmoving machinery. His visionary approach to heavy steel fabrication is a major reason why the university has offered a Welding Engineering program since 1954.
However, major advances in both materials and industrial joining practices prompted us to modify our curriculum in both name and substance. As of Fall 2004, it was changed from Welding Engineering to Materials Joining Engineering. Graduates of our program have always enjoyed a high level of career marketability. As a result of this change, we believe that our future graduates will be better equipped to serve the needs of a broader range of industries, and thus be even more marketable.
So, what do materials joining engineers do for a living? They are typically hired by companies making sophisticated products where diverse materials must be reliably joined, or by companies that produce the equipment and consumables required to join them. John Deere, Dana Corporation, Newport News Shipbuilding, Chicago Bridge & Iron, Framatome, ExxonMobil, Trek Bike, Lincoln Electric and Hobart Brothers are among those currently employing our graduates.
Materials joining engineers develop complex procedures, improve designs, write specifications, specify and purchase robotic and other advanced equipment, optimize processes, evaluate weldability and metallurgical compatibility, perform tests for strength and toughness, predict long-term integrity, analyze failures, ensure proper inspection and quality, provide consulting services and support technical sales. While there are many companies that hire joining experts, there are typically very few in any one organization or division. As a result, they tend to be well-paid, have broad responsibility and be in great demand, and… are never bored.
Our curriculum is heavily project-oriented, and we are well-equipped for it. Our facilities include various joining, testing and analytical equipment valued at over $1.0M. Our full-time and adjunct faculty have extensive industrial, consulting, research and teaching experience. Our undergraduate research provides unique challenges and opportunities for interested and highly capable students. Our alumni are loyal and intimately involved in our program, providing advice, oversight and financial support. Our students are intelligent, creative, outgoing and they love good, clean fun. You can meet them on campus anytime during the school year, at our booth at the AWS Show, or at our annual Open House in October.
For a more in-depth look at what we do, check out some of the technical papers we’ve published, or classroom presentations that have been given by our faculty and students.
We hope you’ll give us serious consideration, and have the courage to succeed as a Materials Joining Engineer!
Dr. Yoni Adonyi
Professor and Program Coordinator
Mr. Robert W. Warke