Purdue University North Central student Margie Michna, of Valparaiso, looks forward to earning her Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in May. Immediately following her graduation, she will put her degree to work in her new job.
She’s already been hired as a mechanical engineer with Flint Hills Resources, an oil refinery in Minneapolis. She will manage engineering projects in the refinery to ensure that the operation runs smoothly.
“I’m excited about this job because I will be working at a large facility in every part of the refinery so I will get to work with all of the equipment that I have learned about in school,” said Michna.
As a student, Michna finds that the challenges of mechanical engineering suit her interests and abilities.
“I enjoy the challenge of solving a complex problem and the creativity of the engineering and science fields,” she explained. “While the field is very technical, I am required to use my imagination to develop unique applications for the technical information. I think it’s important that people pursue activities they enjoy to find their own happiness.”
Michna is aware that as a female, she is somewhat of a rarity in the field of engineering.
“It is clear that few women and minorities enter the fields of engineering and science,” she noted. “It’s unfortunate that there is not an equal gender ratio in the field. People from different backgrounds who have experienced varying challenges can bring new insights and perspectives to engineering and science. I encourage women to pursue degrees in engineering and science.”
On campus, Michna is involved with the Women in Engineering and Technology group and is a member of the PNC chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society. Her grades have earned her regular mention on the semester honors lists.
“All of the PNC faculty members have been helpful and inspirational,” said Michna. “I am always inspired by my peers in class. The engineering students at PNC are frequently willing to help other students understand difficult concepts outside of class. Dr. Larryl Matthews, professor of Mechanical Engineering, challenges me to apply my critical knowledge through intense laboratory work. I am impressed with the entire PNC faculty.”
Michna carefully manages her time by setting a schedule that includes school and work obligations and is sets aside time to enjoy her personal activities.
Each day she cooks homemade meals and uses that time to relax and reflect on her day. In her limited free time she has a number of creative outlets. She enjoys painting and creating mixed media art in various styles as well as mosaics and sculptures. She also plays guitar and appreciates learning new instruments and discovering new musical groups and styles. She writes short stories and tries to expand her writing skills by writing in all different genres. As an athlete, she plays tennis and mountain bikes when the weather is suitable.
Looking to the future, Michna intends to travel to develop an understanding of different cultures. She plans to become more involved with charities and volunteer work.
She intends to go to graduate school for a master’s degree and Ph.D. when she “discovers the specific field I would like to study.”
“I recommend PNC to engineering students. The professors have stellar credentials and are willing to help students. I received an excellent education to prepare me for my career and future opportunities. My advice to students is to explore your career possibilities before settling on one field of study. Once you find your field of interest, dedicate yourself to learning as much you can.”