Mechanical Engineering Mentors

Stephen Rea recalls the influences of his mentors in the mechanical engineering department at NC State, including Dr. Todd Pierce, Dr. Lloyd Griffith and Dr. Peter Corson.

Interview on 2015-01-26


00:00:00.000 So when I went to State and I went into mechanical engineering, the energy field, especially electricity, is where I wanted to go.
00:00:12.654 NC State certainly afforded that with the different offerings they had within the mechanical engineering department, but what really turned me on - really turned me on - was a fine professor named Dr. [Todd] Pierce.
00:00:30.532 Dr. Pierce spoke to me in a manner about thermodynamics I clearly understood.
00:00:37.521 Later when I was a graduate student teaching I tried very hard to emulate his teaching style because I found it very instructive and very helpful to me, and it turned out to be helpful to the students.
00:00:57.095 So he had a big impact not only in solidifying my interest in the power industry but also in being able to communicate the basics of thermodynamics.
00:01:08.240 It was very fascinating, how that worked.
00:01:12.002 So the mechanical engineering department in Broughton Hall, a very nice facility considering it had a few years on it, but it allowed students to be well-connected. It was a focal point.
00:01:27.674 We could all see each other, we could find out what's going on; it was a very nice atmosphere.
00:01:36.033 Also we had a lecture hall which became the focal point for ASME activities, American Society of Mechanical Engineers,
00:01:48.084 Dr. Lloyd Griffith was also involved with thermo so he and Dr. Pierce, they were a tag team.
00:01:57.882 I look at Dr. Lloyd Griffith as a gentleman who got me excited about thermo and Dr. Pierce who expressed it to me in a way I could clearly understand, so the two sort of complemented each other.
00:02:14.763 Another professor, Dr. William Reiter, I never had a class under him but he was a mentor throughout my involvement with ASME, and we can talk about that a little later.
00:02:32.061 Then the last one is Dr. Peter Corson. Dr. Peter Corson took, in my view, the work that Dr. Griffith and Dr. Pierce did with me to the next level
00:02:47.548 because he took all these concepts and he said to the students, "This is how they work in a power plant.
00:02:56.441 These are the major components in the power plant, this is where this applies, and this is where the calculations are made to get the equipment just right," so to translate the theoretical into the real within a power plant.