How Daymon Delbridge went from Football to Engineering!
Daymon Delbridge, a 22 year old, Temple University Engineering Graduate, has fond memories of his idillic childhood and football playing days, in Chesterfield,Virginia. “Growing up in Chesterfield, I enjoyed my childhood in this small town; I had everything I wanted or needed,” says Daymon.
Like many young boys, he had big dreams of being a professional football player, and he played from ages 7 to 16. While he seriously played youth sports, he also had a passion for science and math.
Having a supportive network of family, coaches, and community allowed Daymon to also fulfill his desires and dream of becoming an engineer. Here are the highlights of our recent conversation:
Q. Daymon, you could have gone anywhere, but you choose Temple, why?
A. Being born in New York, I really like the city environment and Temple was like a breath of fresh air. I liked the city, the campus, public transportation, good sports teams, and just an all around great school.
Q. How would you characterize your experience at Temple?
A. It was great, everything I expected and more! The academics were up to par, I built a lot of great relationships within engineering, and joined great organizations like ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), and NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers). I even became an Executive Board Member of NSBE for two years!
Q. Do you feel like your high school prepared you for college in general, and engineering in particular?
A. Yes, I feel my high school did prepare me for college and to pursue engineering. The high school I attended, Lloyd Bird High had a pre-engineering program and that gave me some good exposure to the field. I even participated in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, which is an aerospace design and engineering event for teams of U.S. students. It was a great experience.
However, I never met any other black students who participated in that event; the vast majority of black students didn’t have that experience. Unfortunately, this puts many black students at a disadvantage, because we are not exposed as much as we should be.
Q. I agree, black students need more exposure to a variety of professions. What advise do you have for parents in that regard?
A. One of the things parents can do is to allow their children to join various clubs. For example, TechCORE2 helps you get exposure to variety of opportunities, careers, and contacts. I learned about TechCORE2 from another student at Temple who was also in NSBE. That student connected me to Joel. Joel also came out and spoke at an event, and I was sold. Here was an opportunity fo me to give back to my community, help the youth, help myself, and make some extra money!
If you could turn back the clock, what would you have done differently?
I would have started preparing for college earlier, start visiting colleges in the 9th grade, and taken SAT Prep classes well before the 11th grade. I also would have taken the ACT standardized test, too.
Q. What advise would you give a middle or high school student who wants to follow a similar path?
A. I would tell middle and high school students to take your future seriously. You don’t want to be in a position where you don’t know what you want. Get exposed to many things and see what you like. It’s really important to get exposure, which gives you options.
You also need the support of family, friends and mentors. First and foremost, my family has always been there for me. My grandparents raised me, but my aunts and uncles, and everyone pushed me in the right directions.
Even my football coach said, “If you have any opportunity to get extra academic points for your grades, do it! It’s mandatory!”
You can’t do much without good mentors; older people are here to pass on the knowledge. That’s a BIG benefit!
Q. What are your three favorite books and why?
While I don’t read as much as I should these days, the first book that I really liked was in middle school, The Watkins Go to Birmingham. It was like the first book I could relate to.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X is the second book, which I read in my African American Literature class. It made a huge impact on me. You know, Malcom X is not emphasized as much as Martin Luther King. When I learned about Malcolm, it was a real eye opener.
There are still lot’s of misconceptions about Malcolm, but he was also a civil and human rights activist. I really enjoyed his book!
The Bible is also one of my favorite books. I’m a Christian and I believe we all need a moral code. The Bible teaches us right from wrong.
Q. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
In the next five years, I will be working toward my PE (Professional Engineer License), attending graduate school, or both.
I’ll probably also be searching for that special lady who I can build a family and life with.
Q. What qualities do you think make a good engineer?
A. A good engineer needs to have good math and science skills, but also a curious mind and desire to work with their hands.
You need to be able to take constructive criticism too. Otherwise, you’ll never improve and there’s always room for improvement.
I also think a good engineer is a selfless person, because you need to make sure the team does well. Much like football, engineering requires a lot of team work.