Dana Emswiler graduated from the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh in May of 2021. Her studies in industrial engineering (with certificate in supply chain management & concentration in health systems engineering) were supported in part by scholarships from the SME Education Foundation (the Schneider/Bingle Endowed Scholarship and a recurring Myrtle and Earl Walker Scholarship).
Dana’s degree is the culmination of a journey that began quite early. “At age 14, in my first year of high school, I was in my first Project Lead the Way STEM course and knew that engineering really appealed to me. I then researched and wrote a term paper about Lillian Moller Gilbreth for a social studies class — I was fascinated with what she’d been able to do both personally and professionally at a time when women were not typically involved in industrial engineering.” Although Gilbreth’s story was notable for being the basis of both the book and film “Cheaper by the Dozen,” Dana found her paper topic through her own curiosity and research.
At 14, she knew that “Industrial engineering was what I wanted to do. I loved it, and I’ve never looked back.”
Immersed in classes and extracurricular organizations, Dana excelled in high school. Graduating with a 4.47 GPA, Dana says she “studied hard; asked questions.” However, beneath the surface, she was battling a medical mystery after sustaining multiple concussions. “I struggled with my academics and health throughout my first-year [at Pitt], considering it an accomplishment when I would pass an exam and not pass out on the same day. Eventually, I learned to prioritize my personal development and health first. This changed everything for me. I recovered from my health problems, healing my body and my mind which opened the doors for me to make significant academic strides too.”
An Allentown, Pennsylvania, native, Dana had visited Pitt while her brother was studying chemical engineering. “It’s a top-caliber engineering school, plus the area has a great sports and cultural environment. I love Pitt: I always have — I always will.”
An internship with Eaton Corp. introduced her to contacts and experiences that have led to her first post-college professional job. She begins a year-long leadership developmental assignment in project management with Eaton’s Cooper Bussmann operation in Missouri in July of 2021. “There will be additional assignments after this — it’s a great opportunity to explore leadership, manufacturing, the supply chain, marketing and more.”
An SME member since 2017, Dana was also active with the Society of Women Engineers where she served as Vice President of Professional Development and chaired the Women in STEM Conferences and FiERCE [Females in Engineering Reaching Career Empowerment] Forum for the Pitt section. “I’m committed to female empowerment in STEM: helping women find their voice, maintain confidence, developing networks and mentors.
“I’ve had a lot of positive experiences — I want to share my gratitude to the organizations – like SME -- who have supported and inspired me throughout my academic career.”