STEMM Idol Speaker Shamel Rivers

CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Shamel Rivers of GE Aviation Systems shared his youthful perspective on the fields of science, technology, engineering, math and medicine with CJ students Tuesday.

His message was three-fold:

  • Seek advice and ask questions – of teachers, parents, professionals, and peers
  • Don’t be afraid to break the status quo. Think differently and try to take on leadership roles, and
  • Take advantage of the opportunities to sample career fields early by attending sessions with guest speakers, participating in career exploration programs, and attending camps.

The 2005 college graduate discussed the benefit of having these early workforce encounters, and suggested that every student—no matter what field he or she chooses to pursue—consider involvement in a cooperative education program, also known as co-ops.

Co-ops pair college students with businesses, allowing young adults to gain professional experience while simultaneously working towards a degree. Students generally alternate working one semester and going to school one semester. These opportunities are available at most companies, including GE, and some even come with salaries for students.

Shamel’s presentation also included an introductory PowerPoint demonstration of the workings of jet aircraft engines. The demos were supplemented by reminders of the science behind flight, including Newton’s laws of motion, Bernoulli’s principle and Boyle’s law.

Finally, the February STEMM Idol Speaker gave CJ students a glimpse into the engineering design process and his responsibilities as a production support engineer at GE Aviation in Vandalia. The process, he said, begins with research and a preliminary design. Then, things like a customer-specific application and feasibility are taken into account during an analysis phase.

When ready, prototypes are built and put through rigorous certification tests to meet safety standards. If the product can be certified, it is then put into production.

Shamel Rivers works as a production support engineer for GE Aviation Systems in Vandalia, and has been with the company for four years. Today, he will present to CJ students during all homeroom periods.

Shamel provides engineering support to the manufacturing, production and quality teams at GE by performing tests, analyzing engineering systems and designing changes to improve product performance, cost, safety, quality and manufacturability.

As a production support engineer, Shamel has traveled to GE Aviation sites in the United States and abroad to implement cost reduction projects and leverage best practices. According to, the company operates in more than 80 locations worldwide.

Upon graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Shamel earned Lean Six Sigma certification, and he currently serves as a Diversity Council member for GE Dayton operations. He has experience working with high school STEM students at Aiken High School in Cincinnati, where he established a National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Jr. chapter.