After graduating from BYU with a degree in manufacturing engineering technology in 2013, Rebecca Peterson decided to continue her education and earn a master’s degree. Upon completing the master’s program in 2015, she landed a job with Ford and now works at the company’s Dearborn Truck Plant (DTP) in the Detroit metropolitan area.
While pursuing a graduate degree may not be the right path for every undergraduate, Peterson has already seen its benefits at Ford.
“The courses I took during my master’s program have given me an edge over some of my peers. I was able to gain a deeper understanding of materials, as well as more advanced manufacturing technologies and systems.”
She added that, at large companies like Ford, when it comes to receiving the most desired positions, solid internships and graduate degrees can help a lot to set candidates apart from the rest of the field.
Currently, Peterson works as a Manufacturing Engineering Ford College Graduate, which means that she rotates to different positions within the Dearborn Truck Plant. Her current position as a process engineer puts her in charge of ensuring workstations have all the tools and production aids that the operators need to complete their tasks.
DTP assembles one of Ford’s most important vehicles, the F150, the best-selling truck in the United States and Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year. This means there is added pressure for employees like Peterson to perform.
“With the added sense of urgency and responsibility, the ability to multitask and communicate is invaluable,” she said. “I had to ‘adult’ as soon as I stepped in the door, but with adversity comes growth, and with diverse experiences and environments, comes understanding.”
Peterson’s BYU education, which she described as “hands-on, industry-focused and innovation-driven,” prepared her well for her job at Ford. She also appreciates the experiences she had at BYU that allowed her to work with others and hone her people skills. Those experiences, including founding the first ever student chapter of Women in Manufacturing (WiM) in 2013, laid the foundation for her future career.
“Although knowing the atomic number for iron or pi to a thousand places might be important information, your capacity to work with others and deliver results will be what makes you successful.”
April 27, 2018