Harris, whose resume is highlighted by an internship at a local manufacturing company and multiple leadership experiences in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), recently accepted a position in the
Leadership and Development Program at Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD).
BD manufactures and sells a broad range of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment and diagnostic products.
After graduating in December, Harris, a Layton, Utah native, will be placed in a three-year rotation where she will experience a wide variety of work assignments in manufacturing, production management, quality, and research and development. Each year, she will relocate to a new plant in a different U.S. location, allowing for a diverse experience with new products, processes and people.
“I was so worried when I started my job search because many of my friends who have already graduated have had a very hard time finding a job,” said Harris. “With so many layoffs across the country I thought I would have some very tough competition, and I wasn’t sure I would measure up. I’ve worked hard throughout my college career – studying hard in classes, volunteering, getting involved in leadership positions on campus – to make sure I would be prepared for this. I think it has paid off.”
Harris attributes much of her success to her involvement with the SWE. Having served as the society’s section president for two years at WSU, she says she can’t imagine having gone through college without the organization.
“Being part of SWE inspires me to be a better person. It has given me an outlet to leave my mark and become who I want to be,” said Harris, who is currently SWE’s Region B Collegiate Representative, an elected position. “And because engineering is a very male-dominated field, it has helped me increase my confidence and made me feel like I’m not alone in the workplace even though it’s easy to feel that way sometimes.”
As part of her leadership position within the SWE, Harris was able to reach out and promote the engineering field to girls in local junior high and high schools.
“I always explained to them that engineering utilizes so many skills that aren’t obvious from the outside,” Harris said. “When you think of engineering many people get scared because the first thing that comes to mind is math, but if you ask any engineer they’ll tell you that art, organization and people skills are a huge part of the job. As an engineer you get to be creative, you are challenged, and there are always new technologies and lessons to learn.”
Harris, who starts her new job in January, is excited about and ready for her new endeavor.
“I am very proud of my career choice, not just because I’m a female engineer,” Harris said. “It takes a certain type of mind to be able to be an engineer. There are classes like calculus, physics and statics that are tough, of course, but it also requires critical-thinking skills and problem-solving skills in the workplace and not everyone can do that.”
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