Vinchessica Gray, Gary, Ind.
Major: Industrial Technology
National Society of Black Engineers, president
Technology Dean’s Advisory Council
Lafayette Mission volunteer
College of Technology Student Ambassador
Campus STEM recruitment volunteer
Leadership is about pulling people together. We’re the people who go into a corporation and improve it. We use tools like lean manufacturing and Six Sigma to make sure they are running smoothly and eliminating waste. We make sure things are efficient and effective. My major deals with making sure the product is likeable and up to customer standards. I know that my major is definitely affecting people, and they are getting the best quality with the tools that we learn. Technical electives can help you specialize, and that’s pretty cool. We actually get to see what everyone else in Technology is doing. We take classes in aviation, electrical engineering technology, and information technology. We get a grasp of what’s going on.
My older sister took me to a National Society for Black Engineers conference when I was in 8th grade. Then I came to Purdue, for TEAM camp, early in high school. I got to explore a lot of technology majors and programmed a machine to be able to speak. I started in a different major, but I couldn’t see myself there forever. I’m more of a customer-type person; I like to make sure people are happy.
Making a difference
I hope I’m in a position to improve the company I work for and be the best, make sure everything is up to par, and take the customer into consideration.
I’m a customer who pays attention to the quality. You don’t want to have to deal with creating products and having them be defective; it’s a waste of money. It is better to eliminate that in the front end rather than working backwards from a complaint. The customer’s first impression should be that this is a good product.
Putting knowledge to work
Last year, I interned with J.P. Morgan Chase in Columbus, Ohio, as a business analyst. This summer, I worked in supplier quality for GE in Appliance Park in Louisville, Ky. I did research with the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and presented at the National Defense University Virtual Worlds Conference. I’m a competitive person, too. Some friends and I got third place in a Student Soybean Innovation Contest; we developed a surface protectant made from soy. I also won second place in a case competition that was designed to help GE bring jobs back to America and first place in an NSBE elevator pitch competition.