Meet Denise Miller

“I decided on ISE as I’m extremely interested in process improvement. I’ve always wanted to work around something analytical and base my career around problem-solving.”

ISE major Denise Miller hails from San Francisco, California. Below, she shares thoughts about her experience as a student and her plans for the future.
Did you know anything about industrial engineering before you came to Rutgers?
My mom is an industrial engineer. Since she was so informed and knowledgeable about the subject, I was able to draw inspiration from her projects.
Why did you choose Rutgers School of Engineering?
I’ve always wanted to work around something analytical and base my career around problem-solving. Rutgers had my major – industrial and systems engineering -- which is pretty uncommon in most universities.
When I came to accepted students day, I met professor Weihong Guo and lab tech Brian Alden in the ISE Design Lab. After seeing the work being done and the passion they had, I really knew I’d found my home.
What intrigues you most about Industrial and Systems Engineering?
I’m extremely interested in process improvement and Rutgers has provided me with a plethora of opportunities to dive into the field.
Do you have a favorite course? Why?
Probabilistic Models in Operations Research because it is most applicable to circumstances you will find on the job. It broadened the way I view systems and processes.
Do you have a favorite professor?
I really do. Dr. Guo was my advisor with my co-op internship with L’Oréal. She went above and beyond to help me face problems and gave me priceless advice on how to apply mathematically sound ISE-based principles in the workplace.
She was also an advisor for the Big 10 Industrial Design Project. Her insight helped elevate our project to become a finalist for the university.
Can you describe your L’Oréal internship?
I absolutely love cosmetics – it uses such interesting packaging and processing technology. As a co-op intern at L’Oréal from March through December 2019, I was paid and earned course credits to learn on-the-job project management skills and technologies in cosmetics manufacturing. I assisted in developing the first-of-its-kind process for identifying carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxins – chemicals that cause reproductive issues. I also spearheaded  the reconstruction and layout  of barricades and gates throughout the manufacturing facility.
Do you have any other internship experience?
I’ll be an intern this summer at Procter & Gamble’s Mehoopany, Pennsylvania plant – its largest global manufacturing plant. I love working with consumer goods but want to stray away from continuous chemical manufacturing and get into discrete manufacturing.
What else appeals to you about this internship?
The fact that Procter & Gamble puts weight on sustainability and being environmentally conscious is a big factor for me. At the plant, for instance, the water brought in from the river outside of the plant to manufacture products leaves the plant cleaner than when it went in.
Have you thought about your senior design project?
I’m working on that right now with a group of people whose opinions I value. It’s a sustainability-based project. Hopefully, we can do some good for the planet.
The whole ISE department is very environmentally conscious and focused on sustainability.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I don’t love the idea of setting a solid plan for that far ahead, although I do have an interest in becoming a product manager. I know things can change and want to be flexible. You can’t test fate.
What do you do for fun?
I love working on that promote personal and interpersonal growth– like the Big 10 project or hosting resumé clinics for my classmates and friends. In a way, you develop your own club at school by having thought-provoking discussions on everything from climate change to cryptography with your friends.
Do you have any advice for new students?
The friends that you make in college will be with you forever. One thing I think it’s important to note before you come is that the people you surround yourself with are a reflection of you as a person. One of the most important things will be having insightful discussions with your peers.
I’m grateful to have found some of the most hard-working, brightest friends here. They help me with academic and professional problems and uplift me every day.
How do you hope to give back to future SoE students?
The school prides itself on its alumni network. A lot of the opportunities I’ve gotten are through Rutgers grads. I hope to come back to help provide students with the tools they need to land their dream careers. I’d love to provide as many opportunities to graduates as they have provided for me during my internships and projects.