Industrial Engineering and Management, B.S. (2002)
Global Enterprise Excellence, Senior Manager - Boston Scientific
Hometown: Kimball, MN
Now lives in: Paynesville, MN
Co-op experiences during college:
- Meritcare Health System, Fargo, ND, Management Engineering Intern
- Asante Health System/Premier Consulting, Medford, Oregon, Management Engineering Intern
- Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, Utah, Management Engineer
- Boston Scientific, Maple Grove, MN, Senior Industrial Engineer
- Boston Scientific, Arden Hills, MN, Quality Manager and Project Manager
- Boston Scientific, Global-role based in Maple Grove, MN, Global Value Improvement Director
What or who inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?
I enjoyed math and science and completed college math courses during high school. I was interested in a career where I could help people but direct medical care wasn’t of interest to me. I began searching for math and science careers in healthcare and found engineering.
An alumni, John Hansmann, visited my freshman class and shared how he was improving healthcare with his industrial engineering skill set. His presentation connected with me and I knew that was what I wanted to do. John helped me learn more about working in healthcare and helped me establish the network for a career in the field.
What’s it like being a woman in a male-dominated field?
It’s not easy, but it has given me a great appreciation of diversity. By experiencing what it feels like to be the only woman in a room of men, I can relate to how someone who speaks English as their second language, is older/younger than average, moving from a different city, joining another business from an acquisition, etc. might feel. I have had to challenge myself to be brave to speak up and share my ideas and opinions but once I’ve removed my personally perceived barriers, I’ve found great teamwork and respect from men. It has made me a better person, team member and leader.
What advice would you give to young girls interested in engineering?
The world needs your diversity of thought, experiences and leadership traits to innovate through engineering, to solve problems and improve lives. If you have an interest, give it a try. There are many types of engineering and different industries you can apply the engineering skill set. You may not select the right one as your major as a freshman but it will open your eyes to see all of the other engineering fields that may be a fit for you. Follow your heart – if you love what you do, you will not “work” a day in your life.
What’s your best memory from NDSU?
I loved the teamwork required for our real-life projects for industry. Our teams completed meaningful innovation to our “clients”. It wasn’t easy but we were proud of our accomplishments and my peer team members are lifelong friends.
How did your NDSU education prepare you for your career?
The teamwork and what I would have considered “unrealistic” expectations from professors prepared me to work effectively with teams and gave me the confidence to tackle difficult problems with excitement and a positive outlook that if we worked together, we would deliver an improvement and sometimes, a breakthrough.
Does your gender give you a different perspective and experience from your male counterparts?
Humble and empathetic leadership is now being recognized as effective leadership qualities for high performing teams. Women tend to be naturally strong in these areas, which can be an advantage.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced being a woman in engineering? How did you overcome it?
When you’re different, people naturally assume you’re not as good. I have applied extra grit in everything I’ve done and it has helped me overcome this perception and deliver results.
What’s the biggest misconception about your job?
Engineering is only for highly technical, introverted people. Every engineering field works on a team, gathers requirements and feedback from customers, has leadership/management roles, and requires communication. I am extroverted and don’t particularly like crunching data, but I have found my place in engineering because I’m able to understand the technical aspects and communicate it in a manner that all team members understand. Engineers listen to “stories” and observe tasks/problems to summarize it into a scientific theory that can be improved. By understanding the problem correctly and communicating it effectively, the problem is nearly solved.
What advice would you give to female college students just getting started in the NDSU engineering program?
Join the Society of Women Engineers so you can learn about all of the types of engineering and what has made it appealing to your peers. They typically have incredible passion for their major, and their support will help you find the type of engineering you love.
Find a mentor – feel free to reach out to me, if you need one!