Meet the Class of 2021: Megan Schneider
College of Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering
"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - Winnie the Pooh
Hometown: Dumfries, Virginia
Fun fact about yourself: I can't go a day without eating chocolate!
If you participated in an internship, what company was it for and what were your job responsibilities?
I interned over the summer of 2018 and 2019 with Lockheed Martin in Manassas, Virginia. During my second summer there, I was tasked with reducing the production time of a new device for our military. I got to sit with the operations team on the manufacturing floor and I really felt like I was part of their team. While I was there, I conducted extensive time studies to get a good baseline of production times. I also got to work through several different process improvements strategies, such as designing a new facility layout, streamlining the part picking process, and ordering new tools to create more ergonomic work stations.
Which faculty member has made the biggest impact in your undergraduate education and how?
During my junior year, I took a graduate course with Dr. Andrea L'Afflitto on the Dynamics and Control of Industrial Robots. Among graduate mechanical and aerospace engineering students, I felt intimidated and I wasn't sure if I could handle the mathematically intensive course. I went to tell Dr. L'Afflitto that I wanted to drop the class, but his encouragement and his belief in me lead me to stay in the class. He also invited me to join his research team! I learned so much that semester from participating in Undergraduate Research and taking his course. Most importantly, Dr. L'Afflitto taught me that I am capable of doing much more that I thought possible. I would also like to mention Dr. Cherbaka, who taught me all the way from "Intro to ISE" to "Senior Design." She is a phenomenal professor and kind person. I would also like to thank the Alpha Pi Mu Faculty Advisor, Dr. Ellis. Through her example, I have learned so much about leadership and what Ut Prosim truly means.
Aside from your classmates, what has been the best part of being an industrial and systems engineering major at Virginia Tech?
The best part of being an ISE Hokie is knowing that there are so many opportunities for me after graduation. ISE's have the ability to work in any industry, and I feel like this department has set me up for success in my career.
What club or activity excites you most at Virginia Tech and why?
I am always excited to go to conferences! Throughout my time at Virginia Tech, I have been fortunate to attend WE '18 in Minneapolis, WE '19 in Anaheim, The IISE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in Morgantown, and the IISE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in Blacksburg, thanks to SWE and IISE. Traveling is always exciting, and in addition to listening to inspiring professionals in engineering, I got to spend time with my fellow Hokies!
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your student career so far?
Looking back at my experiences, there isn't one big award or one big thing I can name. But I consider all of the leadership positions I have held to be my greatest accomplishments. I have been honored to serve in officer positions in APM, IISE, SWE, and even the YouTube Club. Getting to lead others towards success is something I have been very proud to do in many different areas.
What was your defining moment at Virginia Tech and how has it prepared you for your future career?
My defining moment was when I decided to accept an offer from GE Aviation and take a semester off to work in Evendale, Ohio. It was my first job ever! There was so much unknown going into my co-op, but I decided to go in with an open mind and just try to learn as much as possible. During those 5 months, I gained so much confidence in myself. It reaffirmed my decision to go into a career in Industrial and Systems Engineering, and it set me up for success by helping me land more internships and gain more experience during my time at Virginia Tech.
What are your plans after graduation?
After interning with them for over a year, I am proud to say I will be working at MITRE full-time as a Systems Engineer in McLean, Virginia! My cat, Olive, and I will be living in an apartment in Northern Virginia.