While doing an internship in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) when she was a math major at Wells College in Aurora, New York, Caitlin Stuckey saw inefficiency there and how it affected everyone from doctors and staff to the babies in the NICU. It was this that sparked her interest in Industrial and Operations Engineering and led her to transfer to The University of Michigan. She says she was attracted to Michigan’s IOE program because of the connections with industry and the direct work on real world problems. As a sports fan, the social environment at Michigan also appealed to her.
Caitlin’s interest in healthcare has continued throughout her time at IOE. While she appreciates the mentoring she received from Dan Nathan Roberts (IOE 2012 PhD graduate now at University of Wisconsin-Madison) and the talks she’s had with Associate Professor Amy Cohn on healthcare, Caitlin says it’s impossible to pick out just one or two inspirational people in her IOE career. “I have had a lot of good interactions with professors here. They’re all very open to conversation,” she says.
Though she says that this semester her life is controlled by her senior design course, Caitlin has in the past and continues to find time for extracurricular activities. “As an engineer, you have to be able to let off steam,” she says. She’s played intramural sports including volleyball and sand volleyball. She also participates in North Campus Service Days, days dedicated to community service and social actions. And she’s a member of Alpha Pi Mu Honor Society and Epeians Leadership Honor Society.
In addition to her course work and extracurricular activities, Caitlin works as a peer advisor to undergraduate students currently in or interested in entering the IOE program. She talks to current students about course load and making sure their work load is feasible as well as helping them do long term planning by mapping out upcoming semesters. She also talks to prospective students about what IOE is and what can be done with an IOE degree. “I’ve always liked teaching and helping others,” she says. “I am so excited about IOE and trying to share that with others and let them make their own choices is fulfilling.”
Caitlin is also active in The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a member of the organization’s Industry Committee. She is the End of Year Banquet and Scholarship Chair. According to their mission statement, “SWE is a non-profit educational service organization dedicated to making known the need for women engineers and encouraging young women to consider an engineering education.” The four main objectives of the group are: “To inform young women, their parents, counselors, and the public in general of the qualifications and achievements of women engineers and the opportunities open to them. To assist women engineers in readying themselves for a return to active work after temporary retirement. To serve as a center of information on women in engineering. To encourage women engineers to attain high levels of educational and professional achievement.” The organization holds career fairs, workshops, and company info sessions. They also award scholarships to members, work with charities, and do outreach in elementary, middle, and high schools explaining engineering concepts and helping young women see engineering as a feasible career option.
Caitlin’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. She’s on the Dean’s Honor list and this year she received an IOE Scholarship. “I’m happy about my own personal achievements,” she says, “but it’s nice to get external recognition. It just reinforces that you should continue to do a good job and put effort in.”
After graduation in May, Caitlin hopes to do a summer internship. For the following fall she is looking toward the possibility of entering the IOE Department’s new master’s program in Healthcare Engineering & Patient Safety. Caitlin says that post-graduate school she’d like to work on usability and quality in industry or in a hospital setting.