Future Engineer Series: Meet Caroline Tomlinson

By Dora Smith

Caroline Tomlinson just graduated from Auburn University and is working as a retail industrial designer. It’s a bit of a jump from where she began her career aspirations. She started off at Auburn as a PR major. Then she heard about industrial design.

“It’s the perfect blend of art and engineering. For me, I couldn’t see pursuing either of those fields independently.”

Caroline designed in Solid Edge at Auburn. It was the 3D modeling tool for all industrial design projects. I asked if she was surprised to use Solid Edge for ID work. She said:
“Definitely. I always thought of Solid Edge as a program used by engineers for boxy designs. Yet I used it to design chairs, cars and even toilets!”

One of the design projects Caroline did is this flashlight. She modeled all the interior components in Solid Edge and then showed it in exploded view. She submitted this image for the Solid Edge Student Design Contest. It was the winning image last June.

When I asked Caroline what advice she’d give young adults who are considering a design or engineering career, she noted:
“You should explore a major. There is always more to it. While I always liked drawing and sketching as a kid, I never knew retail design existed until I explored industrial design more.”

Caroline is designing store interiors now for an ID firm in NY. It is a post-graduate internship. Once the internship is up, she hopes to stay on or find similar work. Her dream is to design an entire store or restaurant.

Future engineers, submit your Solid Edge-inspired design – and if you don’t yet have Solid Edge at your school, let me know so we can connect your people with our people.

– Dora

P.S. If you’re considering whether to go for industrial design or engineering, you’ve got to check out the entertaining and instructional podcasts by Josh Mings and Adam O’Hern at Engineer vs. Designer.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at