Building Confidence and Industry Knowledge

Sierra Strandberg had been working as a mechanical design engineer for five years creating work holdings for tooling inside CNC machines, but she was looking for an opportunity to leverage her technical engineering knowledge and turn it into a higher level operational and managerial role. She found that opportunity through Illinois Tech’s industrial technology and management programs.

“The curriculum incorporates modern industry concepts that I couldn’t find at other universities,” Strandberg says. “The majority of the faculty came from industry and was able to provide real-life examples that paired perfectly with the coursework. I also enjoyed the guest lectures of other professionals in the industry and learning from their insightful experiences.”

Strandberg says the challenging coursework that she encountered while earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees helped her to be operationally defined rather than industry specific. This allowed her to comprehend strategic trends that are applicable to different industries. That, combined with leadership training in the coursework, instills a diversified skill set.

“I believe my employability increased once I received my degrees from Illinois Tech since I had the confidence and industry knowledge to speak technically about a variety of engineering topics, including the assurance of my management capabilities,” Strandberg says. “Often graduates are daunted and unprepared for nonacademic environments. Illinois Tech has programs that relate to current industry, so students are well equipped for their careers.”

Strandberg landed a new job as a project engineer at Illinois Tool Works managing project schedules and employee’s workload capacities, in addition to cultivating technical engineering solutions among different departments for obstacles that are encountered during a life cycle of an automation project.

“Illinois Tech has truly shaped me into the woman I am today, since the university proved to me that with hard work, tenacity, and determination I can accomplish anything I set out to do and excel at it,” she says. “Enrolling at Illinois Tech’s INTM program was the best decision I could have ever made for my academic and secular life.”