Focused, determined, and very motivated, Lindsey Prestholdt is already making her mark as she pursues her long-held goal of becoming an engineer. “When I was young, I wanted to be an inventor. I learned later that there is a better word for that: engineer. I love using math, science and logic to solve problems.”
A student majoring in mechanical engineering at North Dakota State University, Lindsey will graduate in May of this year — one year ahead of schedule. Taking 18-19 credit hours each term through her last year at NDSU, she will complete her baccalaureate studies in three years. “I consider myself to be a very motivated person and very on top of my schedule and demands,” she explains.
As accomplished as she is, Lindsey says she was an “average” high school student. “I wasn’t top-10 or anything like that; I needed some time and experience to get my study and scheduling skills in order. But by my junior year, I had hit the 4.0 mark.” During her senior year, she was dual-enrolled — taking college courses. “I also did a 20-hour/week internship at General Mills in my senior year of high school too — I enjoyed that, and it confirmed my career direction.”
Lindsey is also bilingual, fluent in Spanish. She attended a Spanish-immersion elementary school in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, and both enjoyed and valued the experience.
Crediting her mother for encouragement, support and motivation, Lindsey, with her two sisters, recognize the value of that influence. “My mom is a super-mom. She’s a family practice nurse, and although she’s never told us what to pursue or looked over our shoulders, she made it clear through love and support that she wants us to succeed, and she’s done everything possible to enable that.”
Lindsey has already been hired and will take a position at 3M this year as an optimize operations engineer, assigned to process improvement projects while gaining extensive training in areas such as lean manufacturing. “I’ll be working at 3M’s headquarters, which allows for a variety of experiences at their pilot plant facilities.”
She will still find time for other interests, though. Passionate about cooking, nutrition and fitness, Lindsey is planning to compete in a half-marathon this summer. She is a balancer of time and energy and is a student member of SME at NDSU as well as an officer of the NDSU chapter of Society of Women Engineers. “I really value the encouragement and experiences of other women in STEM fields — like them, I like breaking the mold: it’s what I want to do.”
Lindsey received SME Education Foundation scholarships (the Myrtle and Earl Walker scholarship through all three years of college) as well as the Foundation’s Future Leaders of Manufacturing Scholarship. “The support of the Foundation has been so valuable: it’s encouraged me, pushed me. I’m so appreciative.”
“Mechanical engineering, I believed and now know, is the best fit for me. I’m excited for what I’ll do in the future.”