Alumna Selena Willoughby-Braun ('07) Visits Campus

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Aurora Santangelo, Brian Arnold, Jess Thibault

 

Last Friday Selena Willoughby-Braun ('07) visited campus and spent the greater part of the day inspiring our students to work hard, find balance, and study in the STEM fields. After graduating from Sage Ridge, Selena studied nuclear engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is now a Principle Engineer at Westinghouse Electric Company working in mechanical and chemical engineering.  

 Her day of visiting class included visits to the Upper School Engineering class and the grade 7 Coding classes. She talked about the path she took since completing her undergraduate degree to arrive at her current job in nuclear design/planning. She said that learned "how" to think like an engineer in school, but she did not learn the specialized knowledge of her field - like nuclear chemistry and physics theory - until she was already on the job.

 She also stressed to students the importance of finding balance between work and personal life. With high demands from international clients coming in at all hours of the day, she had to learn to prioritize only  emergencies when off the clock. She also had interesting thoughts on the inevitability of working on a team, which was very relevant advice for the students!          

Selena visits class

Selena originally planned to be a chemical engineer until her dad, a chemical engineer, counseled her away from it. She talked about problem solving, and how so many issues in her field require skills and persistence to solve very difficult problems. She also talked about the importance of coding and understanding something about computer science. As an example of this, she related a story about a problem regarding analyzing a huge batch of data. It was going to require weeks of work to complete the way the company had always done it. She wrote a script to automate that analysis and completed the work within hours. That simple piece of software saved her company's client millions of dollars. Inspiring!

Selena Willoughby-Braun

Selena's take on the day? She said:

"It's great to see the school providing opportunities across all grades to grow and develop critical thinking skills and expose students to STEM related material. You also have a very strong STEM staff that are clearly dedicated to showing students the fun aspects of those fields."

She also stopped in some Latin classes because back in the day she also happened to be our first JCL state representative! Thank you for coming, Selena!

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