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FEF Career Path: High School Engineering Teacher

Pam Lechner

Hannah Burns is a graduate of FEF certified school, Tennessee Tech. She graduated in 2018 with a major in manufacturing and engineering technology and also has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with a focus in secondary career and technical education. 

She chose to pursue engineering at Tennessee Tech because she always enjoyed working with her hands when she was younger; being able to learn basic metal skills seemed like a “cool opportunity.”

During her time at Tennessee Tech, Burns was a student ambassador for the College of Engineering. In that role, she traveled with their STEMMobile and taught kids about STEM. While serving as an ambassador, she realized that she might want to be involved in education following graduation—she really enjoyed getting to work with school-aged students and leading them in different activities and experiments.

And that’s what Burns is now doing. She teaches a three-level Architecture and Engineering Design course at Ravenwood High School (Brentwood, Tennessee). 

“I feel that it is very important to teach my students about industry jobs,” she said. “Most of them don’t even realize that these jobs exist and how important they are to our society, so I always try to place an emphasis on this.

“I love what I do now, because I get to help teenagers figure out what they want to do with their lives, and I get to teach them design, which is something I really enjoy. Helping them realize that they each have invaluable skills and talents is a treasure to me.”

Burns has been able to provide her students with the experience of hands-on metalcasting using a borrowed Foundry in a Box. 

“I think they thought it was cool that they were able to physically fabricate something instead of just making a drawing like we normally would,” she said. 
Additionally, Burns has been able to secure funding to create her own Foundry in a Box so she can continue to use this learning activity with her students, “which we are very excited about.” She hopes to use Foundry in a Box with all her students “to hopefully spark that interest early.”

Looking back at her time at Tennessee Tech, Burns said, “I learned these skills through my college education, so it has been a big help to what I teach now.”

The industry needs more teachers like Burns who are in a position to influence high school and middle school students toward the metalcasting industry. FEF certified and affiliated schools do a great job of educating the next generation; some enter industry after graduation, some choose to go into academia and encourage young people to attend our FEF schools. Thanks to Burns and all our educators!  

Click here to read the article in the March 2022 digital edition of Modern Casting.