Friday, November 8, 2019

The Dynamics of Karim Sultan

Reynolds Community College Student

Seeking Degree: AS Mechanical Engineering


Karim Sultan is going to be an engineer. Minutes in to a conversation with him, it’s evident engineering is a perfect career choice. He’s studious, deliberate, direct, analytical, and he gets really excited by his classes.

This semester he’s taking Dynamics. Dynamics, if you're not familiar with engineering, is the study of unbalanced forces on a system, like the acceleration of a piston in an engine. If applied to Karim, Dynamics would reveal what moves him toward engineering is more than his personality. It’s his passion.

“I’m passionate about the Earth. I’ve traveled around the world, and seen some beautiful sights, and I want to do something to preserve our awesome planet. I want to work on alternative energy sources that preserve our environment.” And Karim has a plan to learn to do that. After Reynolds he is heading to VCU. “I want to study nuclear fusion after my bachelors degree is complete.” Not fission, he clarifies. Fission is breaking atoms apart; fusion is pushing them together – much more difficult but with less waste. “After VCU, I want to study Plasma Physics.”

There’s still more moving Karim. “My Mom went to Reynolds, and she has done really, really well. She is a high-level software developer in Washington, DC. She has gone far in her career, and speaks very highly of Reynolds. She got her start here. We came to the United States from Egypt when I was small. She didn’t speak much English. She got through her education and now she is doing great, she’s very successful.”

When Karim started at Reynolds he had an auto glass business and DJ’d at local bars to pay his bills. One of his first classes was Engineering Graphics. He started calling local engineering firms, and soon landed an internship. He knew immediately he had found his place in the world. Next he got his AutoCAD (Computer Aided Design) certificate. Then came a job as Drafter with Dominion Energy. Karim still DJ’s because it’s fun, but he’s given up his auto glass gig to focus on his studies and his work.

“I really like Dominion. I work with engineers all day, and I love it. I’m drafting electrical panels now and learning a lot about electrical engineering, not my field, but I will use the knowledge someday. Eventually Dominion will pay for my school.”

“Reynolds is great. I am really happy to be here and couldn’t imagine being at a better community college. I could say the professors are excellent teachers, but it’s more than that. The professors here pass on their real life experience, not just information. Professor Clay is my advisor. She can talk about the engineering job market, her life experience working as an engineer, and what it’s like in the field. I feel like I have a strong support team, and will come out of school knowing what to expect, and being prepared to deal with it.”

You don’t need to understand Dynamics to appreciate the vast distance travelled between auto glass and Plasma Physics. Reynolds has helped launch Karim Sultan on his upward trajectory, and we look forward to watching him cross the graduation stage and continue his journey.