Published on Friday August 31, 2007
Sometimes a person’s connection with materials science and engineering isn’t a straight line. In the case of alumna Beth Talbott (MSE ’07), materials science has made its way back into her life in a roundabout way. She has gone from learning about materials in the classroom to materials as they relate to motorcycles at the motorcycle resort she and her husband own and operate.
Beth came to Drexel to pursue a B.S. in MSE after spending one year at Penn State University, main campus. She had completed all of her required classes to graduate at Drexel in 2000 when she decided to switch to the B.S./M.S. program. She has since followed life’s many twists and turns, and the task of completing her Master’s thesis fell to the wayside. Beth ultimately decided to switch her degree back to a B.S. and now has her diploma.
Upon leaving Drexel in 2000, Beth spent a stint as a project engineer for Husky Injection Molding in Michigan. She then moved to North Carolina, where she now lives with her husband, Brad, and helps him to run the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort located about 20 miles north of Robbinsville, NC, along the Smokey Mountain National Park. The motorcycle resort sits on a popular stretch of windy road aptly (and coincidentally!) named the “Dragon.” The road was visited by about 200,000 motorcyclists alone last year.
“The area has been growing in popularity as a riding destination for many years,” Beth says. With that in mind, the husband and wife team have focused on improving the motel, campground, restaurant, and store located at the site.
“My degree in materials science and engineering has given me the ability to think through problems in a rational and logical manner to come up with creative solutions,” Beth says. “Living in such a remote area, you have to depend on your own abilities to solve problems rather than calling in plumbers, electricians, etc. Working in the labs at Drexel has given me knowledge, tools, and methods I draw on time and time again.”
Even though Beth’s current position in life is far from doing research in a lab, she finds plenty of opportunities to put her materials knowledge to good use.
“Although I do not use my knowledge in a traditional sense, I have the technical knowledge and vocabulary to talk intelligently with customers about their bikes,” she says. She adds, “I’ve had many discussions with people about new carbon fiber parts they’ve installed, the engineering behind the single-sided swing arm, wiring problems, or how the center of gravity has been redistributed with a new gas tank design.”
Beth plans to continue to use the knowledge gained from her Drexel degree to help grow her aftermarket motorcycle accessory business she runs with her husband. Their company, Sport Touring USA, has already designed a few items unique to the market and she hopes to further that endeavor.