"What stood out to me about the IE lecture was: flexibility and opportunity."
Gwen Campbell, from Woodstown, NJ, is a Rutgers engineering student studying industrial and systems engineering. Find out more about her experience as a Rutgers student and her plans for the future.
What made you decide to come to Rutgers?
There were two deciding factors—I came in wanting to major in engineering, but Rutgers gave me a lot of options if I changed my mind. There are so many opportunities here, I felt confident I’d find something if I decided not to pursue engineering. The other factor was the cost of staying in state.
What drew you to engineering?
My main interest is math, but I wanted something that would give me broader opportunities for employment.
Did you know anything about industrial engineering before coming to Rutgers?
I had no idea IE existed. Every freshman takes Engineering Exploration where we hear about the different disciplines. What stood out to me about the IE lecture was flexibility and opportunity.
What is it about IE that intrigues you?
As a student I didn’t want to limit myself. IE gives you a solid foundation that you can take in any direction. The job market for IEs right now is pretty fantastic.
What would you tell first-year students about IE?
People don’t know how the major has transformed from primarily a manufacturing focus—it is so much more than that now. An IE degree today is about flexibility and opportunity. My classmates have gone on to work at amazing companies, on so many different product lines, and in any field you name. The skills we can bring to any organization make an IE degree more valuable than ever.
Tell me about your senior design project.
All IEs in their senior year take all their learning and apply it to a project that utilizes all the principles we’ve studied. My team created a robot doorman. The objective was to create an autonomous robot that would accomplish the duties of a human doorman, and then go above and beyond human capabilities. Our robot was capable of facial recognition, distinguishing between a tenant and guest. It treated each person in a personal fashion with a greeting, hand shake, or salute, and waved goodbye. It also provided real time occupancy monitoring for emergency situations, plotting and mapping tenant locations for emergency personnel in the event of a fire or other crisis situation.
Work Design and Ergonomics.
Professor Luxhoj, who I had sophomore year for Work Design and Ergonomics. He went above and beyond to help us understand what IE is about and the important skills that we would need to bring to the real world after graduation. He does an amazing job of going above and beyond. He was my “go to person” on scholarships, career, internships. He even helped me get a national scholarship from the Materials Handling Education Foundation. He was my mentor and held my hand throughout the application process.
Tell me about your internships.
I was a global supply chain intern at Colgate Palmolive in Product Lifecycle Management for my first internship. The second was as an IT intern at Credit Suisse working in big data analytics. I loved it and was offered a job after graduation, but turned it down as I’m thinking about some other opportunities.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
I’ve had some great offers for both jobs and graduate school to pursue a Ph.D., but so far I’ve declined all of them. I’m still considering what I’d like to do and may take some time to travel while I weigh my options.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Do you want the glorious dreamer version? I want to start my own business and am currently exploring developing a technology that would be a teaching tool within the coding space--that’s all I will say about it right now.
How do you hope to give back to future SoE students?
A lot of my success is due to people helping to guide me, willing to coach me along the way. I’m an action person, so I see myself giving back through networking, job opportunities, contacts. I’m already doing that now by sharing my experiences at Credit Suisse last summer with promising juniors and encouraging them to apply for an internship.
If you could go back in time what would you tell your first-year, first-semester self?
Rutgers is a big school and I had a hard time connecting at the beginning of my freshman year mainly because I chose to live on Cook Campus and not on Busch with the other engineering students. I wish I had met more engineering students my first year. There is tons of information you can learn from your peers and in engineering we learn from each other, studying together, figuring out problems, understanding concepts. We also share information about classes and professors’ teaching styles so you can find the fit that works best for you. It’s a great community to be part of.
What do you do for fun at Rutgers?
I’m the captain of the equestrian team and we ride and compete locally, regionally, and even nationally if we advance that far. It’s been a great experience and way to meet other students outside of engineering and stay connected to something I love doing.