Dana Keck BSIE 2017

Emily Scott

Dana Keck’s college experience has been marked by her close connections with the students, faculty and staff of ISE.

When she was deciding where she wanted to go to college, she knew she wanted to study engineering at a large university. She grew to love the tight-knit feel of the ISE department within the larger College of Engineering at Illinois.

“I like how it’s a big school and I can do so many different things, and the College of Engineering is still big, but then you go to ISE and it’s small and I know everybody’s face,” Keck says. “I walk into the senior design lab and pretty much know everybody, and I know all the staff and faculty.”

Now a senior in industrial engineering, Keck sees her college experience as one that was heavily influenced by her involvement in ISE, especially with the student-run Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, or IISE.

She says IISE has been her biggest involvement in college. She served as treasurer during her junior year, and she is now the organization’s vice president.

“I joined just as something to do, and I ended up meeting most of my best friends in the department through that,” she says. “We’ve all been on the executive board together as we go through; it’s really been a support system. We do our homework together, work on things together, and on the side we’re always doing things for the club.”

As vice president, Keck organizes external relations and professional development opportunities for the group, which includes planning corporate info sessions, career fair preps, LinkedIn workshops and organizing Six Sigma and Lean certification workshops.

Last year, she was heavily involved in planning the IISE conference, which the group hosted on campus

As her education progressed, Keck has grown interested in a career in manufacturing and continuous improvement. She previously interned with Hormel Foods, and she will be joining the company full time after graduation.

“I like the idea of improving things that are already set, rather than designing new things to begin with,” she says. "I think it's really interesting how reducing the manufacturing time of something by even a small amount can equal thousands of dollars saved."

She hopes her career will lead her to a managerial role in manufacturing.

Looking back, Keck says ISE provided her with the education and friendships that made her college experience special.

She met four of her best friends in ISE during freshman year, and they’ve been able to go through college and graduate together.

“Probably one of the biggest things was meeting that group freshman year. It feels like I’m not just sitting in class and going to school, but I’m having personal connections as well.”

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