Expanding Beyond the Familiar

February 05, 2021

Maggie Fields hiking

IMSE alumna Maggie Fields

Industrial engineering alumna Maggie Fields, BS IE ‘19, strives to not be afraid of the unfamiliar, whether at her current job with Collins Aerospace or while she attended Mizzou.

That will come in handy this June when Fields takes on a new role at Collins. She will be part of a group who will rotate between their manufacturing sites over the course of two years. Their Professional Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering (PrIME) Rotation Program is designed to help selected Collins employees improve their career development.

“I will be learning some of the processes at the manufacturing plants,” Fields said. “I’ll go to three different sites, spending eight months at each location. I think this will help me learn more about the company and build my leadership skills as I hope to be a manager someday.”

Fields currently works as an industrial engineer on the commercial side of Collins’ aviation company. She works with the production lines to improve processes, parts issues and similar tasks on the manufacturing side of the business. Fields currently works on products such as the primary flight control computers (auto pilot) and ground landing units (auto landing).

“We make pretty much anything that goes into an airplane, except for the shell,” she said. “My work directly impacts the operators building our products. I work with them on creating fixtures, ergonomics issues and making their processes and daily lives easier.”

Diagram of Collins Aerospace Commercial Content

This graphic illustrates the wide variety and number of products developed by Collins for commercial airplanes. Fields will learn about several of these areas and go beyond just knowing about the flight control computers and ground landing units.

Campus Experience

Fields, from Germantown, Ill., was primarily interested in engineering at Mizzou versus other schools because Mizzou Engineering was more flexible in letting students pursue their own interests.

“Other schools I looked at made you complete a co-op, and I didn’t know if I wanted to do one,” she said. “Mizzou would let you get your own internship or co-op. I really liked how Mizzou let you go your own route but still had the areas of support when you needed them.”

Fields eventually participated in a co-op experience, which usually requires students to take a semester off from school while they work at a company. A co-op can last for up to eight months, whereas an internship usually lasts only three months. However, she worked with the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering to take classes online while at her co-op.

“Dr. (James) Noble and my advisor helped me set up my schedule and I still graduated on time,” she said. “It was cool Mizzou worked with me to be able to do that because a lot of colleges won’t.”

Being encouraged by Mizzou Engineering to get involved with student organizations helped Fields branch out as a person. This encouragement led her to be a member of the engineering student council, St. Pat’s Board and a four-year member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

“How much they promoted clubs and things like that really helped me meet people and find more opportunities for internships, co-ops and networking in general,” she said.