Annie Goetz BSIE 2017
For Annie Goetz, what made her college experience meaningful was the people. This includes the community of the department of ISE, which she says has become a network people that has evolved into a support system. Now, as she finishes up her senior year as an industrial engineering major, Goetz says what she has learned in her four years at ISE has given her the capability to excel in a career.
Coming from a family of engineers — both her dad and her sister are industrial engineers — it was always in the back of Goetz’s mind to pursue industrial engineering. She decided to attend Illinois for several reasons, but the engineering program was always a big draw. She came to Illinois as an undeclared engineering major and switched to industrial engineering because she liked its flexibility and the options the major offered. “I like that every person I talk to wants to do something different,” she says. “You can come in and make it your own.” Being able to pick courses that fit her interests was an added plus, and allowed her to realize her interest in manufacturing.
Through an internship with Hormel Foods this past summer, she found that she specifically liked working on continuous improvement problems within manufacturing facilities. “I really like that aspect of it, of seeing where the process is and where you can take it," she says. Her internship focused on looking at the entire process of a facility. She worked with her supervisors to see how productivity could be improved in day-to-day operations. She said she likes the problem-solving that goes into continuous improvement.
“It challenges you to think in a different way,” she says. “You just have to look at the process in different ways, and then until you find something that’s different, and sometimes it’s the simplest thing.”
Goetz says her ideal career path would be to go into into manufacturing engineering, and then transition into a role in management.
Since her sophomore year, Goetz has been involved in the university’s chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, now the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, first serving as head of events for the conference, then as vice president, and currently as treasurer. The group served as another community in ISE in which she could network with upperclassmen and learn from them. “A lot of advice for what classes to take during my freshman and sophomore years came from upperclassmen in IIE,” she says.
The help and support she received from others in the department is part of what makes the community feel like home to her. “There is a sense of everyone wanting everyone to succeed,” she says. This went hand in hand with the personal connections she developed with professors. Goetz's favorite class was IE 430, Engineering Economy, taught by Professor Rakesh Nagi, department head of ISE. “He was so personable and joked around with us and talked about his family, talked about his life. My favorite part was that I enjoyed the content, but I also enjoyed just sitting in class.”
She said it has been nice to be a part of the smaller, more tight-knit ISE community while still being able to enjoy the large Illinois campus. “It’s kind of that small world phenomenon. It’s nice to have a place that’s like home for us.”
Overall, Goetz said gaining independence was one of the biggest things she gained from her college experience. “I know that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. ISE gave me the tools to succeed, so I know I can do it because of what I’ve learned here."