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Savannah Schwienteck
Savannah Schwienteck was involved in several programs while in engineering at Texas A&M University, including Engineering Honors, the Zachry Leadership Program and Student Engineers' Council. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

Savannah Schwienteck graduates from Texas A&M University this May. She shared her experiences with the Wm Michael Barnes ’64 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and how her career plans changed throughout her time in school.

What drew you to study industrial and systems engineering?

I came into college thinking I was going to do biomedical engineering. Ever since I was young, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. But I decided that wasn't the route for me, and I didn't want to stay with biomedical engineering. As a freshman in general engineering, you attend Department Information Saturday, where you learn about all the different engineering majors. I didn't even know industrial and systems engineering existed until I got to college.

I initially stuck to the health care plan. I had an internship after my sophomore year with GE Healthcare, where I worked on MRIs, which sounded impactful and exciting to me. It was a manufacturing engineering internship. Ultimately it wasn't really the type of career I was looking for. I ended up looking at an internship in consulting because it’s a great way to see all sorts of industries and careers. 

How did making the switch in focus go?

I did an internship in the summer of 2022 with PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwC), where I had a management consulting role in health care transformation, working with providers and customers to help improve the business. I loved the internship; it was much closer to what I was looking for.

You were an Engineering Honors student. Can you share more about that?

As an honors student, I had a research requirement. I researched with the Applied Cognitive Ergonomics Lab with Dr. Farzan Sasangohar. I really liked it. It's fun to see the research process. I'm not sure that's something I want to do with my career, but it's good to see different types of projects. Learning how people work and understanding how to work with other people is valuable in whatever you do.

What organizations were you part of?

I've been involved in quite a few organizations, and probably the most impactful one was the Zachry Leadership Program. It's a five-semester program where you go in with a cohort, and each semester has a different theme — self-awareness, empathy, creativity, purpose and wisdom. I think my favorite semester was the self-awareness one. There's a lot to be gained from learning how to speak about yourself and what your strengths and weaknesses are and how you can use those.

I've also been involved with the Student Engineers’ Council since my freshman year and was the operations coordinator for the EnVision Conference for K through 12 to help get them interested in and excited about engineering.

What are your plans after graduation?

The plan right now is to go to PwC and do operations transformation work. Hopefully, I can pursue the consulting route then. I really hope to make a positive impact on the firm and provide a lot of value to the clients I work with. At some point, I know I want to go back to school, but I’m not sure what that will be for. I try not to plan too much because I'm young and still have a lot of time to grow and learn.

What advice do you have for other students?

Get to know your professors. By going to their office hours, I've learned so much from my professors about their different progressions through their careers. It's just sending an email to a professor saying, “I'm super interested in your work, and I'd love to hear about your career progression.”