Industrial Engineering and Management, B.S. (2016)
Supply Chain Project Manager - Sanford Health
Hometown: West Fargo, ND
Now lives in: West Fargo, ND
Career path: During my time as a student at NDSU, I had internships with Border States Electric and Sanford Health. After graduation in May 2016, I obtained a full time position with Sanford Health as a Supply Chain Analyst and have transitioned into my current role in September 2017 as a Supply Chain Project Manager.
What or who inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?
My older brother, Michael Schnepf, was my inspiration to pursue a career in engineering. I wanted to be just like my brother growing up and we shared the same interests when it came to sports, video games, movies, you name it. After high school, Michael went to NDSU and discovered Industrial Engineering. He knew we shared the same interests when it came to math, science, and problem solving as well, and brought up how Industrial Engineering would be a good path for me. We would have conversations where he would explain the vast variety of projects and career options that this field could offer. With Michael’s help and guidance, I decided to pursue Industrial Engineering right away as a freshman at NDSU knowing that if he enjoyed it, I was most likely going to enjoy it as well.
What’s it like being a woman in a male-dominated field?
In college, it was definitely noticeable the ratio of males to females in the classroom was not equal. I approached it with the mentality that this was a great opportunity to push myself harder in order to stand out even further in a positive way. Leading into my career with Sanford Health, I work with other engineers who the majority are males but I really do not pay too much attention to it. I am lucky to say that my experience during college and now within my career, I have been treated with respect and valued as a student/employee. However in order to receive this, you have to earn it – no matter what gender you are.
What advice would you give to young girls interested in engineering?
My advice to young girls interested in engineering would be to remain confident and committed. Do not allow someone who truly doesn’t understand what your ambitions and goals are to put you down and deter you from engineering. Also, leap at opportunities that are available to you whether this is joining clubs or taking on the leadership role for a class project. If you are uncertain that you can do it, take that opportunity to learn from it. Do not let doubt and worries build up to the point that it holds you back. Those experiences that take you away from your comfort zone will be the ones that will make you successful.
What’s your best memory from NDSU?
There are too many memories to classify one as the best. In general, the very best memories and overall takeaway are the friendships that I made at NDSU both outside the engineering college and within it. Some of my best friends to this day are the women and men who were in my engineering classes with me.
How did your NDSU education prepare you for your career?
I really enjoyed the coursework and classes taught by my professors but honestly, I gained the most value by taking on the opportunities that NDSU presented me. For example, NDSU offers many engineering student groups like Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, NDSU Engineering Ambassadors, and Society of Women Engineers. These groups allowed me to take on leadership roles that I gained experience and skills from. Also, these groups allowed me to tour and network with many businesses, and I was able to apply what I was learning in class to real-world examples. Within the NDSU Engineering program, there is ample opportunity to work with local businesses for class projects and apply for internships during your time in college.
What’s the biggest misconception about your job?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about engineering in general is the myth that engineers lack in social and communication skills. There will be both introverts and extroverts in the engineering field but if you want to successfully innovate, you must be able to understand your audience and communicate effectively to them about what the root of the problem was and the solution you are providing. With my current job, I am communicating with other teams and people daily.
What advice would you give to female college students just getting started in the NDSU engineering program?
For me, college was more challenging than high school and that was a change to get used to right away. If you are struggling with grasping onto a concept within a class, do not be afraid of taking initiative and being the one to form a study group with fellow classmates or going in to your professor’s office hours outside of class time to work with them. Also, there is no legitimate reason to feel intimidated if there are more men than women in your class. When it comes time for group projects in those classes, be assertive with your ideas and take criticism with grace.