by Reagan Berg ’20
After watching “MythBusters,” Jessi Norman ‘12 decided to explore a career in mechanical engineering, finding the varieties and complexities of building to be fascinating. Moving from Madison, Ala. to Auburn, she said, “I knew it was the place I was supposed to be.” Auburn “allowed me to find my true self” by exploring “things that seemed interesting to me because I wanted to, and not [because of] what I thought others would think.”
For her senior year design project, Norman and her group created a football shaped grill and smoker for a businessman and “were chosen as one of two projects to present to a group of mechanical engineering alumni,” she said. “It was a great feeling to see a yearlong project come to fruition.”
Now she is a mechanical designer for Schneider Electric – a company actively striving for women’s involvement in STEM roles. She is a part of WiSE, which stands for Women in Schneider Electric, which has hosted events on career paths and hidden biases in the workplace. “The goal of WiSE is [to] help create a supportive environment for women and make connections [and] potential mentorships for individuals to further their career,” she said.
Everyday she designs a medium voltage switchgear for customers and prioritizes orders based on their ship date. The manufacturing process is done on site, allowing her to “walk out to the shop at any point to see jobs that are being built at that time.”
Schneider has recently upgrade to a new 3D computer-aided design program, which Norman was selected to be the subject matter expert on. She is the representative of her engineering group, making her the first contact for problem resolution. This has allowed her to be in a leadership position as a continually rising and already successful engineer.
Strong women inspire her across all industries, especially since “many of them are the first in their fields,” she said. “I want to be known as a great engineer, not just a great female engineer; I want my work to speak for itself.”
“I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for all the powerful women breaking barriers before me. It is important for all of us to share our successes by paying it forward to the next group coming along after us,” striving herself to be an example of success and fairness.