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Career Conference: Spencer Hicks '09 on Engineering


Catholic Central Alumni Spencer Hicks ‘09 spoke to students interested in careers in engineering on March 29 as a part of CC’s Career Conference series. 

During his presentation, he explained the various types of engineering students could specialize in (chemical, civil, software, electrical, industrial, etc) and areas of study he thought would best prepare them for each. 

After CC, Hicks graduated from Cornell in 2013 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and later from Detroit Mercy in 2018 with a M.S. in Product Development. Hicks is now a Mechanical Systems Engineer for Ford Motor Company, where his current focus has been on hard and soft tops in the Ford Bronco. Hicks also serves as an assistant coach for CC’s Ski Team in his free time.

Hicks encouraged students to think carefully about where they may want to focus in engineering, whether that be aerospace, biomedical, environmental, agricultural, space science, or other specialties within the field.

“This place is the best thing your parents could have done for you,” Hicks said. “The supportive staff and community around this place are really tremendous. Catholic Central makes great men, and CC men make great engineers.” 

Hicks stressed the importance of developing skills in several areas to become a well-rounded engineer, not only forming a strong technical foundation in science and math but also focusing on communication, time management, and managing stress in high intensity environments. 

“If you want to be a guy that sits in a dark corner solving math problems, engineering may not be the right path for you,” Hicks said. “So much of my job relies on communicating the specifics of my project needs and obstacles in an efficient manner to people four levels above me who have a much broader scope of job responsibilities.” 

Hicks explained that engineers are currently a commodity and recommended students apply to companies that interest them following their undergraduate degree, rather than immediately continuing education. 

“Give yourself a little time to mature and grow after undergrad; it is so crucial and it could save you from taking on a lot more in student debt because a lot of companies will have programs that will pay for your masters program,” said Hicks. 

The Catholic Central Career Conference series is a program where alumni come back to speak to sophomore and junior students interested in particular career paths. The alumni share valuable insights about their profession, their story, and recommendations to students seeking a career in a similar field. There are career conferences on medicine, business/entrepreneurship, finance, engineering, law/law enforcement, marketing, and journalism. If you are a student interested in attending a career conference, please contact your guidance counselor. 

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