Linnell Williams

Linnell Williams

A mechanical engineering alumna is using her problem-solving skills to understand and complete missions for the new U.S. Space Force.
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Linnell Williams is a 2019 alumna who chose to study mechanical engineering because it would afford her many options in her professional career. After graduating from Rose, she worked as a logistics engineer with Caterpillar Inc. before joining the U.S. Air Force as a second lieutenant. Now, Linnell is an electronic warfare officer with the U.S. Space Force, helping innovate new processes and systems to help America stay ahead of the competition in the modern-day “space race.”

Why did you choose Rose-Hulman?

When the Minority Engineering Program of Indianapolis took us on a field trip to Rose in 2013, I had never heard of the school. I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful campus and programs that Rose offered. When we met with the faculty and other students, the student-to-faculty ratio immediately captured my interest, along with the very high job placement rate for graduates, the companies that hired students, and the overall atmosphere. That really helped secure my decision to want to attend. I went to Operation Catapult the following summer and was hooked!

What is your favorite Rose-Hulman memory?

That would probably be being on the cheerleading team and getting to go to practices and games, cheering on the good ole’ Fightin’ Engineers. Rose offers minors in different subjects and I have a minor in Spanish, so my favorite classes would probably be Señor (John) Gardner’s high-level Spanish courses. He was so approachable and was extremely passionate about the language and the culture.

What makes Rose-Hulman unique?

The faculty, 100%. There would be pretty lengthy list of professors who I had meaningful conversations in their office hours or who would stop to talk to me in the hallway. Engineering was very difficult for me, on top of figuring out how to grow up and being a broke college student. So, it was very important to me that my professors were understanding and available to help me when I needed them. The close-knit Rose community was also very comforting and made it really fun.

WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN ENGINEERING, ESPECIALLY MECHANICAL ENGINEERING?

I was interested in engineering when I attended the Minority Engineering Program of Indianapolis in the sixth grade, because I was “gifted” in math and science. I had absolutely no idea what engineering was, but I knew it had job security. And, although it sounds strange that a sixth-grader would think about things like that, that was, legitimately, my mentality. As I grew to understand more about engineering and the different disciplines, I wanted to keep my options open and have some fluidity with my career. So, I chose the broadest discipline: mechanical engineering.

HOW ARE YOU USING YOUR ENGINEERING SKILLS IN YOUR CAREER TODAY?

I use my engineering skills daily as a space electronic warfare officer in the U.S. Space Force (previously being an engineer for Caterpillar before joining military service). Electrical systems (ESys), one of the most challenging classes as a sophomore in the mechanical engineering curriculum (at Rose), is a foundation for the work I do every day. Knowledge about how to use spectrum analyzers and oscilloscopes and talking about waveform generators came from what I learned in the classrooms at Rose-Hulman. Because of my ability to utilize the problem-solving techniques that were taught at Rose, I can help understand and complete my missions for the U.S. Space Force.

HOW EXCITING IS IT TO BE PART OF THE U.S. SPACE FORCE?

It is very exciting! Learning about orbital mechanics and how to manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum to do really cool things is really fun. I remember taking Dr. (Galen) Duree’s course (awesome professor, BTW) and being so conceptually lost because I couldn’t visualize a practical application of the content we were learning. It is funny how I am able to piece the puzzle together now with some of the projects I am a part.
  

HOW HAS YOUR ROSE-HULMAN EDUCATION HAS PREPARED YOU FOR THIS NEW ADVENTURE?

I always speak very highly of Rose and my education from the institute because I believe that I was very blessed to get the opportunity to attend this school. My education has helped open doors for me and for that I will forever be grateful.

WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED BEFORE, DURING OR AFTER ROSE-HULMAN?

The best advice is to never let where you dictate where you are going. I definitely was NOT the smartest person at Rose, not even by a long shot. However, I took the career fairs seriously, I asked for help on my resume and learned from the people who were way smarter than me the information I needed to know to help me succeed. I believe that being humble and asking for help or seeking mentorship, shoutout to Dr. (Richard) Onyancha, is the best way to advance your career or find something you are passionate about.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING IN 5, 10 OR 20 YEARS?

In five years, I would like to have a master’s in computer information systems and, hopefully, be a project manager or Information Technology professional working remotely, while still being a U.S. Space Force officer. I would like to have some mentees that I can develop a personal and professional relationship with and help other STEM professionals see where their journeys can take them. One day, I’d like to be able to give back to Rose and sponsor another minority student who couldn’t afford college, like me, and help them have their entire education paid for, just like someone did for me.
Marcie Morrison

Marcie

Mechanical Engineering alumna who enjoys spending time outdoors.

Victor Aguilar

Victor

Biomedical Engineering alumnus at Cornell University.

Shawn Hymel

Shawn

 A computer engineering alumnus living in the Big Easy.

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