Undergraduate Student Spotlight | Catherine Reckard

In her senior year of high school, ISE senior Catherine Reckard had never considered an engineering career. Like many high schoolers, she viewed engineering as building bridges, designing car engines or constructing circuit boards. But when her AP Calculus teacher shared that he thought she would enjoy engineering, Reckard realized that she had always loved math and creative problem-solving. So she looked into engineering with the hopes of finding some opportunities.

Armed with her preconceived ideas about what engineers do, Reckard attended NC State’s Spring Engineering Open House and learned two important things. One is that the people in the College of Engineering are much friendlier than other universities she had visited. “I remember being drawn to the sense of community,” Reckard recalled. Second, engineers do much more than bridges, cars and circuit boards. “At this open house, I learned about industrial and systems engineering, which especially piqued my interest,” she said. “I heard it described as ‘people-oriented engineering.'”

Reckard always knew she loved working with people and performing work that directly impacted and helped others. At that point, she was considering a career in occupational therapy and was drawn to the Health Systems Certificate Program. “I began to see ISE as an opportunity to combine my passions for healthcare, creative problem-solving, collaboration and math,” she explained.

After earning her healthcare certificate and graduating this spring, Reckard stayed one more semester to pick up her Master of Industrial Engineering through the Accelerated Bachelors/Masters Program. After graduation, she hopes to move to Charlotte and begin working in healthcare process improvement at a hospital or within healthcare consulting. “I hope to work part-time for a few months after graduation to have a small break before going full-time, take some seminary classes, and spend extra time with friends and family,” confided Reckard.