Boundless opportunities: Frances Swayne earns industrial engineering degree

December 08, 2023

Frances Swayne

Frances Swayne followed her family members into STEM, choosing Mizzou because of its academic offerings and opportunities to meet a lot of students. Seeking adventure, she got involved in Engineers Without Borders. Wanting even more boundless opportunities, she opted to pursue a degree in industrial engineering—a flexible program that prepares students for a wide range of industries.

Now, Swayne is off to Indianapolis to work as an Industrial Engineer Trainee with the United States Postal Service and to find new adventures.

Read on for a Q&A with Swayne about her Mizzou Engineering experience.

What made you interested in your major?

I learned about industrial engineering (IE) through my ENGR 1000 class. I’d always loved the show How It’s Made and when we were introduced to the topic of IE, I was excited at the idea that I would get to work in manufacturing and industries. I loved the design component of my other classes, but what I really enjoyed was the team aspect and being able to improve existing processes. As I learned more about industrial engineering, I realized the opportunities were endless. I especially want to own and lead my own company someday, and industrial engineering is the best career path to achieve that goal.

How did you get involved at Mizzou?

One of the first clubs I joined was Engineers Without Borders. I am passionate about community service and travel, and our club allows us the opportunity to use our classroom skills on real engineering problems across the world to make a difference. When a leadership position became available, I jumped at the chance to do more within the club. I’ve gotten to be the Director of Finance, lead different projects within the club and help coordinate our travel to Panama. Right now, I’m continuing efforts to increase the membership and outreach of our organization to grow it as much as possible before our class graduates.

Additionally, I am an Industrial and Systems Engineering Ambassador working to increase recognition and the growth of our department within the University and with high school students. I love sharing my experience in college and industrial engineering with students that may be interested, especially if they haven’t heard of us before.

What’s your favorite Mizzou Engineering memory?

I have a lot of amazing memories from the past few years at Mizzou Engineering. I’ve loved traveling to Panama with Engineers Without Borders, watching the Dome Lighting during Engineers’ Week with my friends and running around during hackathons. But my favorite memories always consist of being around my friends late at night, studying for an exam or completing last-minute projects. Being in the study rooms until 1 a.m. and ordering pizza and brownies so we can get through the next problem. I loved being completely confused by something, but everyone was confused, and it was okay. We’d take our frustration out then attempt the homework until somebody understood it and got to take the grand march to the board to explain it to everyone else. Those are the memories I’ll miss the most.

Are you a part of any programming, or have you visited any resource centers within the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity?

I’ve utilized the Women’s Center many times. I’ve used it as a quiet place to study, taken their meal offers during finals week and attended club meetings there. It helped me worry less when faced with a large workload. I also like studying in that environment, especially meeting new people and being with a group. Those resources got me through a lot of stressful times. I like how open the room is with different spaces for people to hang out or study in. There are different spaces depending on what vibe you are feeling, and I like that you can talk to people there who you don’t know and meet strangers without any stress or anxiety.

How has Mizzou Engineering helped you achieve your goals?

Mizzou Engineering has helped me achieve my goals in so many ways. They’ve provided me so many opportunities to meet employers and build relationships that would lead to internship and job offers. Student Services has helped me both with employment as well as anything else I could need regarding the clubs I’ve been a part of. By having the best professors and resources, I’ve been able to make connections with professors and learn as much outside of the classroom as in it. When I came to Mizzou, I wanted to be a student that enjoyed college without being stressed about schoolwork 24/7. Mizzou Engineering has made me feel welcome and comfortable as I’ve earned my degree and pursued opportunities outside of the university.