McKinzie Ernst

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, B.S. (2016)

Cogen Supervisor/Engineer - Archer Daniels Midland Company

Hometown: Sabin, MN

Now lives in: Enderlin, ND

Career path: I did an internship with Archer Daniels Midland, ADM, before my senior year at NDSU. After the conclusion of my internship I was offered a Production Engineering position with ADM in Endelrin, ND. After working as a Production Engineer for two years I was promoted to a Cogen Supervisor/Engineer position. I am currently working on a wastewater expansion and am learning my new role as the Cogen Supervisor. 

What or who inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

I had a Chemistry teacher in high school who recommended I go into engineering because of my love of math and chemistry.

What’s it like being a woman in a male-dominated field?

Throughout college and my career I have been one of very few women in my field. It has been empowering to be a woman that has succeeded while doing something I love. At times I have stood out because I have been the only woman working on a project, but I always love a challenge.

What advice would you give to young girls interested in engineering?

Engineering provides many opportunities. If you are interested in something and are willing to put in the hard work do not be afraid to try any new opportunity.

What’s your best memory from NDSU?

Volunteering for the Big Event. We were able to make blankets for Project Linus and help children in need.

How did your NDSU education prepare you for your career?

My NDSU education provided me the problem solving mindset to become a successful engineer. 

What first got you interested in engineering?

I did not know what engineering was all about until I discussed the potential of becoming an engineer with my high school chemistry teacher. She hooked me on the idea of solving real world problems.

Does your gender give you a different perspective and experience from your male counterparts?

I believe I am an asset to the team because I can work well with everyone and communicate ideas to people with many different experiences.

What advice would you give to female college students just getting started in the NDSU engineering program?

My advice would be to work hard and not be afraid to stand out.

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