Lift as you climb

Aerospace engineer Lauren Smith returned to campus to share her tips to early success with the Society of Women Engineers.

Lauren Smith ’13, MS ’15, is riding an exciting career into space engineering as an operations manager for Northrop Grumman in Denver. She returned to campus recently as the keynote speaker at the Society of Women Engineers Luncheon celebrating Engineers Week.

Several dozen students and faculty—including Smith’s former advisor, CAA president Sunniva Collins, MS ’91, PhD ’95—gathered in 356 Nord Feb. 21 for a buffet lunch and a conversation. Smith had plenty of advice for the aspiring scientists and engineers, including these tips:

Approach a career with an open mind:

“I try to be very open to things I know nothing about. What are some new networks I can join—new skills I can learn? I do say ‘No’ to things sometimes, but I try to lead with ‘Yes.’”

Learn how to build relationships:

“Case is an amazing school. The network is one of the most valuable assets you will graduate with.”

Ask for help:

“I ask for everything.”

Take advantage of internships:

“You’re being judged on character. Don’t wait for someone to give you something to do. Pitch a project. Meet people. As an intern, you can ask anyone just about anything. You really want to take advantage of that.”

Brand yourself a pro:

“I don’t date at work. I will not be seen as a datable person. I’m here to work. I dress to be strong. I don’t dress to be pretty. I dress to be confident.”