When WSOS Scholar and Senior Courtney Seto decided on her Industrial & Systems Engineering major, she had no idea of the opportunities this would provide her. In addition to providing a platform to express her passions, the major provided Courtney with a diverse skillset that could be applied to a variety of fields.

Courtney is only continuing to find new ways to utilize her education as she prepares for life after graduation. Discover more on the opportunities her major and WSOS provided, including interning at Boeing and meeting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson!

What inspired you to pursue your major?

During High School, I took a career placement test and “Industrial Engineer” was my number one match. That was the first time I had ever heard about Industrial Engineering. After doing some extensive research, I found that it truly was a perfect fit for me as it combined my passion for problem solving, technology, and helping others. Industrial & Systems Engineering is all about process improvement and finding ways to increase efficiency.

Tell us about your current coursework.

  • Systems Engineering – This is a joint course with the Aero-Astro Engineering Department and teaches project management and systems engineering skills that are used during the development of a system from the initial requirements stages to implementation and testing. I was inspired to take this course after a conversation that I had with a Systems Engineer during my internship at Boeing. I appreciate the complexity involved in looking at a system as a whole. During this course, we are formed into teams and are assigned the task of developing a materials delivery drone system to be implemented in a hypothetical airplane manufacturing plant.
  • Healthcare Simulation Case Study Project – This quarter I am working with a team of 4 Industrial & Systems Engineering students to compete in a global healthcare simulation case study competition. Over the course of the quarter, we are using FlexSim Healthcare Simulation software to model a proposed new hospital facility for St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center and provide recommendations for improvement.

What has been your favorite class and how does it pertain to your major?

My favorite class was “Intro to Manufacturing” where we learned the fundamentals of process improvement and the Lean Production System. For the class project, we were required to observe a “production” process at a local company and make recommendations for improvement using the tools that we learned in class. My partner and I worked with a local restaurant, Morsel, and found opportunities to improve their morning biscuit production system. I truly enjoyed this course because it opened my eyes to the possibilities of industrial engineering and helped me to realize that the skills and tools that I learn can be applied to nearly any industry or company and make a direct impact.

What excites you most about your future profession?

I am most excited for the challenges and learning opportunities. There are always going to be opportunities for improvement and new problems to solve as technology changes.

Tell us about your internship work this summer.

This past summer, I worked at the Boeing Company as an Industrial Engineering intern on the 777 program. I analyzed data surrounding the difference between actual and scheduled job completion times in part of the production system and found opportunities to reduce the amount of time required to complete certain tasks. I developed a tool that would hold all of a mechanic’s tools and parts near his/her work area to reduce travel time and improve the ergonomics of the job. It was rewarding to see my project in use and benefiting others.

How did you land this opportunity?

Networking, networking, and more networking. I learned about the internship and secured an initial interview when I attended a Boeing Informational Session on campus. My WSOS mentor helped me prepare for my interview and know what to expect.

What advice do you have for other students thinking about or seeking internship or undergraduate research opportunities?

Be persistent and personable. Let the employers/research professors know that you are passionate about what you do/want to do and are excited to learn.

What has surprised you most about your program and studies?

I am surprised by how applicable they are to any nearly any industry. There are processes in everything from healthcare and manufacturing to food service and retail.

What extracurricular activities are you participating in that are helping you with your career goals?

I am currently the acting president for the UW Chapter of the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers. Through this role I have gained experience with leadership, teamwork, and project management that can be beneficial in any career.

How has receiving WSOS supported you on your path to a thriving career in your field?

In addition to the financial support, WSOS has provided me with opportunities for professional development and networking. The Skills that Shine Workshop and Mentor program helped me to gain insight into how to succeed during my internship at Boeing. Not to mention, I’ve gotten to meet countless amazing people through WSOS, including the CEO of Boeing, former Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, and Russell Wilson!

What is your favorite app?

Google Calendar – I would be lost without it. I keep track of everything from school assignments, networking appointments/events, meetings, to-do lists, and even exercise. It really helps me manage my time and balance my responsibilities.