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December Engineer of the Month grows through UC experience

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Schauer headshot

December Engineer of the Month Ana Schauer (mechanical engineering '19). Photo/Corrie Stookey/CEAS Marketing

Ana Schauer (mechanical engineering ’19) was initially drawn to the University of Cincinnati because of the financial benefits of its cooperative education (co-op) program. After four years, though, she’s gained a lot more than just a paycheck.

Through a co-op rotation with Gulfstream Aerospace, three rotations with Honeywell Intelligrated and an internship with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Schauer has seen a diverse sampling of engineering in practice. Just as important, she has learned to come out of her shell.

“My biggest takeaway [from my first co-op] was professional communication,” said Schauer. “I’m pretty shy generally and have a hard time making my voice heard sometimes, so the experience that stood out most for me was when I did a project about radar antennas.”

Since much of the project depended on radar functionality (something Schauer had no experience with), she had to collaborate with various departments and report back to her project team.

With Honeywell Intelligrated, a materials handling and logistics company based in Mason, Ohio, Schauer had another telling experience. She was in a group responsible for cradle-to-grave projects, meaning she saw the progression of projects from conception to completion. Through this experience, she not only grew comfortable in the professional field but also found her passion for design and innovation. 

“My co-ops have made me realize that I want to be ahead of the technology curve,” she said. “I’ve learned a little about advanced manufacturing techniques, and I think it’s really interesting how that ties in with design.”

Ana Schauer on computer in a lab

Ana Schauer works in one of UC's computer labs. Photo/Corrie Stookey/CEAS Marketing

Now, Schauer is making these passions the foundation for her future career. She’s applying to graduate school and wants to pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering, with a focus in design, advanced manufacturing or tribology (the study of surface interactions).

According to the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science’s criteria, Engineers of the Month must demonstrate “excellence in the classroom, success in their co-op assignments and leadership through extracurricular activities on campus and/or in the community.” These students have found the balance needed to be leaders and exemplary scholars at UC.

You could have really great ideas, but if you can’t communicate them to people, you’re not a really great engineer.

Ana Schauer UC mechanical engineering student

Schauer attributes her success in the field and in the classroom to her commitment to a well-rounded college experience. 

“I’ve gained a lot of writing, reflection and soft skills that you’re not taught in the classroom,” said Schauer. “You could have really great ideas, but if you can’t communicate them to people, you’re not a really great engineer.”

Schauer has carried that mentality with her throughout her time at UC. She participated in the honors program and also took advantage of several leadership opportunities, including in Theta Tau. As vice president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, she is organizing a career fair to help connect mechanical engineering students to co-op employers.

Schauer in warehouse at Honeywell

Ana Schauer on co-op with Honeywell Intelligrated. Photo/Provided

“It’s really nice to be able to give back to this community that’s helped get to where I am today,” she said.

UC assistant professor of mechanical engineering Aimee Frame, PhD, is Schauer’s academic advisor. Frame nominated Schauer for Engineer of the Month after having Schauer as a student in one of her classes.

"The thing that struck me most about Ana was her preparation for class and incredible work ethic," Frame said. "She is one of the rare students who is here to learn as much as she can from every course she takes.”

As Schauer prepares for graduation this spring, she is thankful for opportunities she has had, opportunities that stem from her determination to step out of her comfort zone.

“Something that’s really helped me get ahead has been my willingness to try anything,” she said. “I never turn down an assignment from anyone, even if it seems tedious, because I know I can learn something from everything. And that has opened the doors to a lot of really cool things I’ve been able to do at UC.”

Featured image at top: Ana Schauer poses in front of UC's Engineering Research Center. Photo/Corrie Stookey/CEAS Marketing

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