Design and Development Engineer
Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Development Engineer dealing primarily with graphical user
interfaces for high end lighting control used in restaurants and
high residential areas.
Dietrick is a firm
believer in the value of work experience for undergraduates, and
points out that prospective employers look for candidates who
"I enjoy mentoring. I came here, and you're kind of assigned a buddy. Your
buddy helps you out through orientation, is the individual you can go to
with questions. It also depends on the employer. I know here we also have
an open door policy. It's a catch phrase used by a lot of companies, but
it is, without a doubt, the policy we practice. If you're not pleased with
the situation, you can go to your mentor first. If you're not pleased with
that answer you can go on, all the way to our owner."
Jennifer Dietrick of Lutron Electronics has always been in control of her
education. As an undergraduate, she believed that getting pertinent
experience would help her later on and found summer work for herself.
Dietrick recalls, "I can't say the school had a career services (office)
geared toward summer employment, so I took the initiative myself. I went
out and found on-campus interviewers that might be interested in
(recruiting for) summer employment as well."
At the end of one disappointing summer working for Kimberly-Clark,
Dietrick spelled out her grievances in her summary report, explaining that
she felt she could have been challenged more and could have contributed
more. Assertiveness paid off. To her surprise, the same team offered her
an internship for the following summer, and Dietrick got her wish. "The
second summer there was exceptional. I was given projects that were not
typical of a coop. And I feel that I excelled." Justifiably proud of her
effort, she was offered a permanent position upon graduation, but Dietrick
came to the conclusion that her education would not be complete with a
bachelor's and went on to get her master's degree.
Dietrick is still a firm believer in the value of work experience for
undergraduates, and points out that prospective employers look for
candidates who have it. Now that she works full time, Dietrick has to make
time to study. She travels to different parts of the country to numerous
seminars. She does all she can to keep "up with the current software and
the current industry practices." As a design and development engineer for
lighting control systems, she attends conferences on both software and the
lighting industry, sometimes as a contributor. In effect, Dietrick
continues to take charge of her education.