Murray delivers annual Ada Wilson Lecture
Kristin Murray said she wasn’t sure if her career had warranted enough experience to make her an inspiring guest lecturer for the 2014 Society of Women Engineers’ Ada Wilson Lecture.
The Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department alumna earned her bachelor’s degree in 2008 and an MBA in 2009. But, she said, after graduation, she had formulated a set of three rules to live by professionally and personally.
“I realized if I turned this opportunity down, I’d be breaking one of my own rules,” she told the audience.
Known as Kristin Ehlers while she was a student, Murray talked about how the experience felt like coming full circle. She was president of Mizzou’s student chapter of SWE when the first Ada Wilson Lecture was held in 2007.
Her first rule: don’t settle. Murray said her first internship experience with General Electric in Greenville, S.C. helped her realize what areas of engineering she found most interesting. That inspired her to pursue a second internship — and later, full-time job — with Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies.
“I wasn’t a three-year-old, little girl thinking, ‘I want to grow up and make weapons components,’” she said while discussing the guidance she received in her second internship. Now a senior project manager for Honeywell FM&T, she stressed the importance of finding passion in the work she does in order to be successful at it.
“Find the pieces that you want to fit into your goals professionally and personally,” she added.
The second rule, take advantage of unique opportunities, convinced Murray to speak at the event. She encouraged audience members to push their comfort boundaries and try new things. A self-proclaimed introvert, Murray has forced herself to step out of her comfort zone. She studied abroad in Toledo, Spain, and took on the SWE presidency her sophomore and junior years.
“I had actually applied to be the outreach chair for SWE, but then was asked to be president. One thing about being shy… it’s really hard to say, ‘no,’” she said, laughing.
She follows her final rule most now that she’s out of school: give back.
“You grow so much by helping others,” she said.
Her efforts to give back include Mizzou and Honeywell. She’s a member of the College of Engineering’s Recent Alumni Development Board, holding a chair position in that organization, and she also educates potential female engineers through her company’s middle school outreach program.
She serves as the president of the SWE-Kansas City chapter — having previously served as outreach chair — and last year, she used her networks in both SWE and Honeywell to help organize the Kansas City area’s first “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.”
In 1907, civil engineering alumna Ada Wilson was the college’s first female graduate. The Ada Wilson Lecture is held in conjunction with the SWE Green Tea the Saturday of Engineers’ Week.