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More is more: three internships, research ops lead grad student through school

Portrait of Jennifer Bergman

Master’s student Jennifer Bergman has completed multiple internships and is the lead student researcher on a CELDi project with the Boeing Co.

Like many freshmen trying to figure out what they want to study in college, Jennifer Bergman was still looking for the right direction even as she started taking business classes. She followed her instinct and love of math to the introductory engineering course, which led her to industrial engineering.

“I think I followed the same path that a lot of industrial engineering majors follow,” she said. “Industrial engineering combined both engineering and business, which I liked.”

Bergman completed her bachelor’s degree in May 2013. As an undergraduate, she conducted research for Mizzou Engineering’s National Science Foundation-supported Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution (CELDi) working on logistics design for the Boeing Co. She also was a member of the Mizzou chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the industrial engineering honors society Alpha Pi Mu.

She earned her Six Sigma certification on a study abroad trip to Ireland with the Trulaske College of Business and also studied abroad with Mizzou Engineering’s South Africa trip in January 2013.

Now seeking a master’s degree in industrial engineering, Bergman is still working with CELDi as the lead student researcher on a new project with Boeing that will forecast parts and components’ lifetimes.

“I’m using this project — the idea behind it — and applying it on a broader scale for my master’s thesis,” Bergman said. “I plan to use many sets of data.”

Bergman didn’t struggle with the decision to go to graduate school — she had always planned on earning an advanced degree — and found the transition from undergraduate to graduate student one with some unexpected benefits.

“It’s crazy how much I’ve learned in just a few classes,” she said. “Take programming. You think of an industrial engineer, and you don’t think: programmer. But I’ve learned and utilitzed multiple programming languages, I know I’ll use it later in school and when I get a job.”

She plans to get that job after her expected graduation in December. She said she hopes her internship this summer with Boeing will help her decide whether she wants to pursue the supply chain or engineering side of industry. She interned with 3M and Honeywell in the summers of 2012 and 2013, respectively.

“I’m a huge believer in horizontal growth before you can grow vertical,” she said.