Celebrating Women in Engineering Day!
In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day (June 23), we are highlighting some of the women in STEM on our Precision Solutions by Hyperion team. We aim to shine a spotlight on the remarkable achievements, stories, and experiences of women who are breaking barriers and making a lasting impact in the field of engineering. In highlighting their background, what inspires them, and advice they would give to younger generations considering STEM, we hope to foster a supportive community for women in engineering around the world.
From left to right: Imelia Meiser, Michelle Killackey, Ozge Gunlugur, Ashley Smith, Vanessa Swain
What is your role/background?
Imelia Mesier: I am an Engineering Intern at the Hyperion Sinter Plant in West Branch, Michigan for the summer. I am currently a student at Michigan Technological University, going into my third year studying Mechanical Engineering Technology.
Michelle Killackey: My role with Hyperion is a Powder Plant Process Engineer. I have a bachelor’s degree in science from Michigan State University. I started out learning the process in the Manufacturing Analysis Laboratory. I then moved into the Powder Formulation position before getting into the current engineering position.
Ozge Gonlugur: I work as a inside sales representative. My background is molecular biology and genetics.
Ashley Smith: My role has been a Sales Engineer working for GLE since 2012. In the fall of 2022, I accepted a new position as the Inside Sales and Marketing Manager for Precision Solutions. Prior to working at GLE, I worked at Nexteer Automotive in Saginaw, MI. I started working as a co-op in the Environmental Engineering department the week after I graduated from high school. For eight years I continued to work at Nexteer in the Facilities Services Group as an Environmental Engineering co-op, intern and contracted engineer. My background in the environmental role helped me develop and maintain many of the EH&S programs we have today at GLE.
Vanessa Swain: I currently work as an Inside Sales Engineer with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Saginaw Valley State University. Throughout my college career I worked several different co-op jobs and internships. I worked at SC Johnson as a lab tech, Nexteer Automotive as an industrial engineering co-op, Eaton as an aerospace additive manufacturing intern, and The City of Saginaw as a civil engineering assistant. Additionally, I conducted undergraduate research with my favorite professor at SVSU. One honorable mention is that I bartended all throughout college, which enhanced my communication skills more than any other job I have ever held. I would say all these different experiences together have helped guide me in my career path to where I am today.
What inspired you to get into this field?
Imelia Meiser: I am from West Branch, and I was looking for a summer internship in a different field than I worked in last summer. I am exploring what field of engineering I want to work in in my career after college.
Michelle Killackey: I had previously worked in the veterinary field where diagnostics and analysis were very interesting with animals. Switching roles and getting into the tungsten carbide allowed me to broaden my science background and learn a whole different aspect of analysis.
Ozge Gonlugur: Communication with people, listening and understanding my customer´s needs, being able to help them.
Ashley Smith: I was most inspired by my parents to get into engineering. They both worked two jobs during my childhood and always told me to get a great education, so I didn’t have to do the same. They taught me what hard work was and that it will pay off in the end.
Vanessa Swain: I initially went to college with the intention of pursuing special education teaching. However, when walking through campus I passed through a hallway when one of the engineering professors was giving a tour of the formula one racing shop. I was really intrigued, discussed with my advisor, and ended up changing my major!
What is one piece of advice you would give to a young person today considering this field?
Imelia Meiser: I am a young person new to this field, but what I would advise so far is to learn about all the different parts of the process and be ready to learn new things and think outside the box.
Michelle Killackey: Be open to asking questions, and don’t hesitate to try something outside your comfort zone.
Ozge Gonlugur: I would say never hesitate to step out of their comfort zones, that’s where everything begins!
Ashley Smith: One piece of advice I would give a young person today is, it’s not going to be an easy road, but it’s a road worth traveling. There will be times when you want to give up but keep persevering as the engineering discipline will give you several opportunities to work in various environments- whether manufacturing, automotive, design or sales. There will always be a need for engineers.
Vanessa Swain: Ask thoughtful questions, never stop learning, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Some of the most defining moments in my life have been when I was most afraid and pushed through anyways. You can’t ever grow if you always stay in the same place! The sense of accomplishment after achieving something you had a fear of or didn’t think you could do will make you feel unstoppable.