Is there anything Amanda Nauman didn’t do this year at Stevens?
At this month’s commencement ceremony, the Southern California native who earned her B.E. in Engineering Management in 2011 is adding a M.E. in Systems Engineering to her list of degrees. The definition of go-getter, she completed her master’s in only one year while simultaneously coaching a local Masters swim practice, working as a teaching assistant for the Engineering Management department, managing a systems engineering Senior Design project, serving as president of the Stevens student chapter of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), and holding a part-time, long-distance job.
The impressive balancing act this year – and the previous four, in which Nauman was an honor student, All-American swimmer and champion triathlete – paid off ten-fold. The avid racing nut probably couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect career opportunity upon graduation. This summer, she’ll start working full-time as a Project Manager in the engineering department of Felt Racing, which designs, develops and delivers the best bicycles in the world – and happens to be located 15 minutes from her hometown of Mission Viejo, Calif.
“I feel incredibly lucky to get to earn a living by combining my two passions, sports and engineering,” Nauman said. “Plus I get to go home to California where I can do all of the things I love so easily, like surfing, biking and swimming.”
Persistence and talent probably has more to do with Nauman’s good fortune than luck. Nauman – who owns two Felt bicycles and looks forward to taking two hour rides on her lunch break – sent her resume to the company on a whim last summer. Although they had no openings, they were so impressed by her academic background and obvious interest in the industry that they basically invented a position for her.
“It turned out that Felt’s engineering department was just a bunch of guys who loved playing with bikes and designing stuff, but had a difficult time understanding how to manage their work efficiently and make sure things get done on time and on budget,” Nauman said. “They brought me in to organize and manage the engineering design processes, because I had studied exactly those skills at Stevens.”
Nauman spent only six weeks at Felt before returning to Stevens to pursue her master’s degree, but she proved herself invaluable. Although she was 3,000 miles away, the company kept her on for 10 hours per week during the school year and then made her an official full-time offer.
Beyond her graduate-level coursework, Nauman got a little extra practical engineering management experience this year to bring back to Felt. She was an advisor to a unique Senior Design project which brought multi-disciplinary students together to build an efficient and sustainable model for a remote military operating base using systems engineering principles.
Nauman worked on phase one of the DoD-sponsored project as an undergraduate student, and treasured the opportunity to help this year’s team improve their processes so the project could evolve.
Looking back, Nauman knows she made the right decision to study Engineering Management and Systems Engineering at Stevens.
“It is totally evident to me now that companies have a real need for a bridge between the business side and the technical side,” she said. “The knowledge I was taught is applicable to any industry in that it helps companies achieve what really matters to them – turning technology and innovation into profit.”
Although she is ecstatic about her future, for Nauman, leaving Stevens will be bittersweet.
“I absolutely love this school. I call myself its biggest advocate,” she said.
Read more profiles of 2012 graduating students here.