Alumni Profile – Beth Ann Less

When Beth Ann Less arrived at the University of Michigan as an undergraduate student, she hit the ground running (and biking, and swimming). She participated on the Michigan Triathlon team, was a part of Young Life, worked as a lab instructor, and taught as a graduate student instructor while at U-M. Beth Ann’s main focus, however, was earning her two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Engineering in Manufacturing from Integrative Systems + Design.

While studying mechanical engineering, Beth Ann “realized that there is a very important connection between design and manufacturing.” In order to explore this, she wanted to “dive into the real-world side of design that goes beyond CAD work on a computer screen.” When she found out about ISD’s Manufacturing program and saw how she could “mold [her] program into the specific degree that was most interesting and beneficial,” she knew that extending her time at U-M by one year and pursuing her graduate degree was the right decision.

Part of Beth Ann’s graduate education was completing a capstone project. She worked with a manufacturing company in Plymouth, Michigan and viewed her project as the most rewarding part of her year with ISD. Through her work, she “assisted [the manufacturing company] in launching a large project to mass-produce a new part.” This was her chance to apply the concepts that she had learned in the classroom on the factory floor, and she relished the opportunity.

Because Beth Ann was involved in so many activities, “finding the optimal balance” between her coursework, her job as a graduate student instructor, completing her capstone project, and having a social life was her biggest challenge in graduate school. She did, however, manage her time well enough to complete her degree in two semesters and receive a job offer from 3M.

Although Beth Ann very recently graduated in the spring of 2018, it seems that her time spent at the University prepared her for the new challenges she will face as she enters the workforce full time. In July, she will head to Minnesota where she will begin her career “designing and modifying manufacturing production equipment.” The ISD faculty and staff are incredibly proud of Beth Ann, and we wish her the best of luck as she begins this new adventure.