Grads of distinction: Katie Lenz
Inspired by an experiment in elementary school showing how to power a lightbulb with a battery and some helpful advice from her Buckeye engineer father, Katie Lenz decided to be an electrical engineer at a young age.
Lenz’s idea of what electrical engineers do—and what might be the best career fit for her—has evolved during her time at Ohio State and her experiences at four internships and co-ops at different companies.
“I never realized how broad electrical engineering is, I thought everyone just invented iPhones. All of those experiences taught me different technical sides to electrical engineering,” she said. “I also picked up different business skills, how to communicate with people who aren't on my team, how to ask for help, how to set up and run meetings. They were very beneficial.”
Drawn to Ohio State because of its outstanding engineering program and Women in Engineering (WiE) initiatives, Lenz has built a unique support network at the university.
“From the very first day, I automatically knew people in all of my classes, so it made study groups super easy,” she said. “They had a seminar class that taught us resume and interview tips. My closest friends are from WiE as well. I highly recommend it.”
Lenz also joined The Ohio State Society of Women (SWE) engineers, progressing from helping plan the inaugural Engineering Ball during her sophomore year to serving as secretary to becoming president this year.
“What kept me in the organization was that it had the resources to support me as an entire person,” she said. “From the leadership opportunities to the group of women who were constantly advocating for me and pushing me to do more.”
Despite the pandemic, SWE hosted 64 virtual events last fall under Lenz’s leadership. She also launched a Freshman Ambassador Program to enable first-year students to gain leadership skills and made care packages for SWE members who were in the university’s quarantine or isolation housing. In recognition of her leadership, Lenz received a 2021 Guiding Star Award from the Society of Women Engineers.
Being in SWE not only enhanced Lenz’s academic experience, but it also helped her land a full-time job at HP, where she will be a hardware design engineer.
Lenz’s advice to students is not to give up, “Continuously put yourself out there. There are a lot of opportunities, sometimes you have to wait for the right time for things to connect. When they do connect, it can lead to amazing opportunities. So even if you hit some closed doors, just keep knocking.”
Story courtesy of College of Engineering