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BW physics grad with an appetite for learning flourishes as a quality engineer

Photo of Kaitlin SweanyKaitlin Sweany '13 has parlayed her degree in physics from BW into an exciting and challenging position as a senior quality engineer at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, Florida.

Charged with oversight of the production floor where weapons are produced for members of the U.S. military, Sweany keeps the Lockheed Martin mantra uppermost in her mind: "Never forget who we're working for."

Building credentials and experience

The road to her current position ran from BW to the University of Central Florida, where Sweany earned her Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, as well as her American Society for Quality Six Sigma Green Belt certification.

Quality analyst and engineering positions at Siemens Energy and Nordson Corporation further prepared her for her work with Lockheed Martin.

Women in engineering

"I feel like I entered the world of engineering at a great time for gender equality," Sweany stated. "So many brave and beautiful women paved the way for me to be where I am today, and I really feel that I've experienced a refreshing amount of respect in my field."

At BW, Sweany also found respect. She worked as a physics tutor and in the Burrell Memorial Observatory under the supervision of professor Gary Kader, a job she relished. "Professor Kader is just so passionate about astronomy it's impossible not to be captivated by the chance to learn about it!"

Inspired critical thinking

Sweany also credits Dr. Ed Meyer with helping her gain invaluable life skills. "I took every class he taught," she said. "He really ignited my passion for learning and struggling with a problem, working through to its root cause and coming out with a solution. It was extremely satisfying and informs the way I tackle my work every day."

In addition to her challenging academic program at BW, Sweany was grateful she studied abroad her junior year, an experience that exposed her to other cultures.

Learning, growing, life experiences and problem-solving are essential in Sweany's life. "Everything else is just extra!" she said emphatically. "My advice to others is to explore, change and never stop learning."

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