Meet Bailey Jones, a 2nd year Graduate student who is halfway done! She did her undergrad at Pitt and studied Mechanical Engineering. She is an avid hiker, biker, and reader and has always been very curious. She loves the outdoors and is always working on bettering herself.
How would you describe what you are studying to our readers?
How to manage technical projects, day-to-day firefighting (aka keeping the plant from burning to the ground) and managing people and relationships. Essentially making the best decisions for the business by going off the cold hard facts!
What is your undergraduate degree in?
I studied mechanical engineering and focused on thermodynamics but ended up in manufacturing (you never know where you will go!!!). I basically studied how things work and problem solving.
What made you decide to go on for a masters degree in engineering management?
I love engineering and I wanted to continue my knowledge of it. There are very few women in this field and even fewer in management, so I wanted to set myself up for success. (I don’t know specifically what the actual stat is, but I think it’s like 80% of women quit 10 years into the engineering field).
What first interested you about engineering management? Were you introduced to it in college? And by whom?
I am actually in a Leadership Development Program through my company. Basically, every year for the first 3 years of my career I move to a different plant to do a different job and then roll off the program with a bunch of experience! The end goal is to end up as a plant manager or something like that. I just googled engineering management one day (my love for engineering and where my career is headed) and I found this program, so I applied because I had COVID and was bored. Hahahaha. In addition to taking classes, I work full time as an Industry 4.0 Engineer. I lead our global augmented reality council and sit on the global automation council. I also have dipped my toe into the waters of Digital work instructions, OEE, cobots, simulations, additive manufacturing, augmented reality, and some of the other pillars.
What is your favorite part of studying engineering management? Is it a certain class? A certain lab? A certain professor?
I really enjoy the relevancy of it! I see a lot of the same stuff at work that I do in my classes, so it is very easy to manage both. So far, I have enjoyed my waste management class because it talked about several things that were going on at my plant at the time.
What has been the most challenging part of studying engineering so far?
The most challenging part has been the lack of females in the program. We all know we are smart, that’s why we can do what we do (and more!). But when you get to college and all your friends are suddenly guys, it is a bit of a shift.
What helped prepare you the most for college? Certain classes? Certain after school extracurricular activities?
I think a positive attitude and believing in yourself and not giving up was the best thing for me. The confidence that you can do it and you are good enough and you belong was what really made the difference for me. I took a wide range of AP (Advance Placement) classes and was involved in sports and leadership activities in high school, but the biggest thing was the confidence.
When you graduate, what do you hope to do with your degree? How do you hope to make a difference in the world using your degree?
I am planning on becoming a Plant Manager by 30!!! My goal is basically to run a plant that everyone wants to work at. I want to be able to keep everyone safe, keep productivity high, and keep the plant headed in the right direction.
What advice do you have for our readers who may want to become engineers one day?
Don’t give up. You can do it. Even when you fail (because you will), try again. Everyone goes through that imposter syndrome, but you just have to push it aside and remind yourself that you are in the position you are in for a reason and all your hard work is going to pay off in the end. Keep going!!!!!!!!!!!