Alumni Achievements

Making the perfect snacks

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Frito-Lay’s Topeka, Kansas, plant operates 24 hours a day, so while most of us are sleeping, Catherine Swift, a 2010 graduate in mechanical engineering, is monitoring production lines that produce bagged snack foods, ready for supermarket shelves. Swift helps monitor the plant’s production process for moisture and oil levels, and each shift compares its batches…

Y2K debugger

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As the clock ticked down to the year 2000, computer scientists around the world were fretting about the so-called “Y2K bug,” which many feared would wreak havoc on our heavily computerized society. In the late 1990s, a computer program created by Rex Widmer, a computer science graduate in 1972, put many minds at ease. Widmer’s…

Quality U.

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At the height of the total quality management (TQM) movement, organizations across the nation sought to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award as validation to their pursuit of performance excellence. In Missouri, the Midwest Excellence Institute established a similar recognition program — the Missouri Quality Award — based on the same criteria as the…

For the love of circuits

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Emily Hernandez, who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 2016, began recruiting minorities to STEM fields even before she started college. She started in eighth grade during a camp called Girls Experiencing Engineering near her hometown of Germantown, Tennessee. Today, Hernandez works at CelLink in San Carlos, California, where she designs and builds…

Cheryl D.S. Walker: engineer, curator, lawyer, poet

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Cheryl D.S. Walker, who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1986, has many talents and many pursuits. Dedicated to serving her community and the University of Missouri System, she’s also devoted to music and the arts, especially poetry. The S&T community may best know Walker from her service to higher education. A member…

Creating fashion for feet

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When Darla Ellis, a 2006 graduate in chemical engineering, began a summer internship with Nike, Inc. during her senior year at Missouri S&T, she already owned a well-loved pair of their shoes. She returned to campus at the end of the summer with eight pairs. Today, Ellis continues to wear Nikes to work as a…

Studying the past to improve the future

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Katy Bloomberg, who earned her bachelor’s degree in history in 2006, believes that her experience working in S&T’s Archives prepared her for her work in the federal government. Bloomberg has worked in the Defense Department in Washington, D.C., as a program analyst at the Commission on Wartime Contracting. The contracting commission develops recommendations to improve…

Leading a national lab

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At Sandia National Laboratories, Joan Woodard, a mathematics graduate in 1973, was the executive vice president and deputy laboratories director for more than 10 years. Woodard, who retired in May 2010, joined Sandia in 1974 and held various positions of increasing responsibility. She served as executive leader for the nuclear weapons program, as the executive…

Once-in-a-lifetime cab ride

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Tamerate Tadesse is a SCADA automation engineer but started his career as an airport taxi driver. “I like to talk to people, I like to ask questions,” says Tadesse, a 2015 electrical engineering graduate. One day, Tadesse gave Peter Desloge, chairman and CEO of Watlow Electric Manufacturing Co., a ride to his home. After seeing…

Giving others an opportunity

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Steven Frey works to ensure others have the opportunity to attend graduate programs at S&T like he did. Frey says that he was only able to attend graduate school – he earned a master’s degree in physics in 1986 – because of a teaching assistant position and an anonymous donor. “My master’s degree really differentiated…