Brigitte Hutter

2016 Engineering her Future


What makes you a Difference Maker?

To make a difference, you need to have the courage to be a powerful challenger to the status quo. It doesn’t hurt to also remain insatiably curious. During my career at the University of Michigan Dearborn, I have been able to explore many interests and emerge with a very well rounded education. I believe that students should be unafraid to pursue interests outside of their immediate field, for in this unknown territory new and creative ideas can often be found.

Although I chose to focus my curriculum in the very technical fields of industrial engineering and chemistry, I have also explored more liberal classes, which led me to minors in both German and psychology. Classes in manufacturing processes and printmaking co-exist on my transcript and I believe that this form of openness to new concepts and experiences will remain one of my greatest assets.

Victor Hugo, the great French cynic once wrote, “education is what remains when we have forgotten all that we have been taught”. As an industrial and systems engineer, I’ll know that my true value lies in the combination of technical expertise and problem solving skills needed to drive change.

Campus Achievements:

Involvement in campus activities has greatly enhanced my time at UM-Dearborn and has afforded me many opportunities to make a difference and explore my interests.

Although it has been hard work, I have been able to maintain university honors and placement on the Dean's List for a number of years in addition to my position as Honor Scholar for the Industrial Engineering department. Through academically rigorous classes, even though I may not have fully appreciated them at the time, I have been fortunate enough to leave with lasting knowledge and friendships.

Outside of pure academics, I have also participated in a number of campus organizations, such as Alpha Pi Mu, Tau Beta Pi, the Society of Women Engineers, chemistry club, and even German club. I especially appreciate the opportunity to meet not only students within my areas of study, but also students outside of my classes.

Leadership Experiences:

I have been very fortunate to participate in many rewarding leadership experiences both on and off campus. The increase of group projects in upper level engineering and chemistry labs has helped to lay this groundwork. I was able to participate in the 8th Annual Ergonomics Design Competition with a group of my fellow ergonomics students and learned valuable lessons, such as team dynamics and the leadership necessary to maintain a cohesive vision.

In addition, through my internship at Hanon Systems, an automotive supplier, I have also been able to assume ownership for a Six Sigma Black Belt project and lead a team of engineers in an effort to streamline manufacturing processes and secure a sizable cost save for the company.

What is your Dream Career?

I would greatly enjoy applying the problem solving techniques of industrial engineering to nonconventional fields. I think the same processes that have historically aided manufacturing can be used in innovative ways to improve efficiency in other fields like healthcare or even entertainment. I would love to work with a company like Disney or Google that maintains a sense of creativity and flexibility of thought in problem solving. I believe that this kind of thinking is the key to innovation and something I want to be a part of in the future.

What was a Defining Moment at UM-Dearborn

One of the first moments I considered being an engineer occurred when I was around seven years old. I went to the Sally Ride engineering fair with my mom and was mesmerized by the never-ending booths. I was also pretty surprised to hear more about Sally Ride because the only engineer I knew was my dad. That afternoon consisted of hands-on engineering classes for kids, with no parents allowed, and I was pretty nervous but also a little excited. By the end of the day I couldn’t have been happier and it was a fantastic experience.

I remember feeling a similar way on my first day of college at UM-Dearborn: a little nervous but also a little excited. And just like the engineering fair, I had a wonderful experience.

As I became more involved on campus and with affiliated outreach programs, I became more and more aware of the impact I could make as an engineer. Engineering changes our world in tangible ways. The pyramids are marvels of engineering, just as the process of the assembly line transformed manufacturing. I realized that the beauty of engineering is not only an understanding of processes and materials, but also the knowledge of one’s own responsibility as a role model.