This is another installment in our Industry Insights series. Today, we introduce you all to Britany Benton, a Purdue grad with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. She now works at GE.
“Hey! My name is Britany Benton (formerly Kaiser), and I graduated from Purdue in May of 2015 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Shortly after graduation, I started working for GE Appliances as part of the Edison Engineering Development Program. As a part of this program I rotate jobs every six months and work towards a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Some of the work I’ve done on my rotations include developing microwave cooking algorithms (like your popcorn button), optimizing the size and location of the counterbalance springs on dishwasher doors (so your door doesn’t fall open too quickly or slam shut), improving quality on the ice and water systems of refrigerators, and creating FEA models across multiple product lines to help our engineers make the best design decisions possible. I have about a year and a half left on this program before I “roll off” into a permanent position with GE Appliances.
Outside of work I love to play sports (I guess I haven’t changed that much since college).
Luckily for me, my husband shares the same passion! Our main sports are sand volleyball and softball, but we’re not too picky- anything with a ball will suffice. We have two Labrador mixes, Lily (2 years) and Lucy (13 weeks), who also love being outside and chasing anything you throw their way.
I grew a lot as a person in my four years at Purdue, and even more since then. Here’s a bit of advice I compiled for getting the most out of your time in college and preparing for life after graduation.
1. Stop worrying.
‘If I don’t get a 73.4% on this test, then I might fail the class, and then I’ll have to retake it, and then I won’t graduate on time which means more student loans, not to mention no one is going to let me co-op with them with my flawed GPA, and then I won’t be able to find a full time job without a co-op, and then I’m going end up living in my parents’ basement for the rest of my life!’
Sound familiar? Engineering school is hard, especially at Purdue. But worrying and stressing yourself out isn’t going to help you any. I may have worried a little too much during college, but one of the things that helped me was reading the book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. There’s a kindle download for it, if you’re interested. Also, know that you wouldn’t have gotten into one of the nation’s top engineering school if they didn’t think you could do it. Purdue believes in you, so you should too!
2. Don’t participate in “rèsumè builders” just to build your resume.
You don’t want to get to your senior year hunting for a job with nothing under the “extracurricular” section of your rèsumè. At the same time, dragging yourself to meetings three times a week for four years in Club ABC that you have no passion for isn’t the way to go either. Please don’t join a club or seek a leadership position for the sole reason of adding a line item to your rèsumè. The best “rèsumè builders” are going to be the things you do because you want to, not because you’re trying to impress people.
For me, it was intramurals. If going from the softball field, to the sand volleyball court, to the dodgeball gym, and then back outside to the ultimate Frisbee field on a Thursday night during exam week doesn’t speak for “time management” in an interview then I don’t know what does. That was one of my favorite Purdue nights, and I got to talk about it in an interview! Building your rèsumè should not feel like chore. Find clubs and activities that you’re passionate about (PSWE is a great place to start!) and your rèsumè will build itself.
3. Don’t be afraid to travel… but also don’t be afraid not to.
One of the awesome things about Purdue is that there are so many opportunities to travel whether it be study aboard, internships aboard, spring break trips, or one of countless other options. If traveling is something that is important to you, then you should absolutely take advantage of it during your time at Purdue. But maybe travel isn’t something you’re passionate about, and that’s ok too. I’ve met a lot of people who’ve been to more countries than I have U.S. states, and sometimes it’s hard not to feel intimidated by those people.
Outside of my time at Purdue, I’ve lived in three houses my entire life and they’re all within 30 miles of each other. My husband and I live currently reside in a small but cozy starter home on the South side of Louisville, KY. We are within a 45-minute radius of all our parents, grandparents, and many other relatives, and we have no intentions of ever moving away from our hometowns. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Again, please don’t take this as me telling you not to travel. If traveling is something you even think you’re interested in, you should absolutely take advantage of the opportunities available to you at Purdue. But I also want you to know that it’s okay to settle down in your hometown and live in one city your whole life if that’s what you want to do.
Good luck with the rest of your time at Purdue and Boiler Up!”