Ashley Mikolaiczik ‘16 didn’t participate in the Lives Improve Through Engineering (LITE) program when she was in high school because she didn’t begin pursuing engineering until she was in her senior year.
“My dad is an mechanical engineer at Ford. I like what my dad did so I decided to become an engineer,” Mikolaiczik said. “My dad graduated from Oakland [University] but he works with a lot of engineers from Kettering University. He said Kettering is the best and he always wants me to do the best.”
Based on her father’s advice, Mikolaiczik came to Kettering to study Mechanical Engineering. She has since completed her co-op terms in multiple departments with Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, including: Body Exterior Verification and Validation, Body Exterior Components Design and Release, Electrical Systems Testing and Seat Engineering. During her academic terms, she served as a mentor for multiple clubs and organizations, but LITE is where she found her true passion.
“A lot of my friends had gone to LITE so I felt like I missed out on something,” Mikolaiczik said. “I wanted to have the opportunity to experience the program as a mentor.”
LITE is a two-week residential program created by Kettering University to introduce 11th grade girls to what engineers do and how they significantly improve people’s lives by applying math, science and technology to human problems.
As a mentor, Mikolaiczik’s responsibility was to guide a group of 10 rising seniors through the LITE educational curriculum and ensure that they were socially acclimated to life at Kettering.
“Academically, LITE is a really broad introduction to engineering,” Mikolaiczik said. “They have the opportunity to evaluate different types of engineering and apply themselves to exactly what interests them.”
After participating in the LITE Program, Mikolaiczik finds herself more interested in projects related to industrial engineering. Had she participated in LITE In high school, Mikolaiczik says she may have chosen a different path in engineering.
“In LITE, you get exposed to so many different types of engineering - industrial, mechanical and bio engineering,” Mikolaiczik said. “It helps you focus on what suits you and your career.”
Apart from the educational opportunities, Mikolaiczik asserts that the LITE program assimilates high school females with life on a college campus which can inspire them to continue pursuing educational and professional opportunities in the sciences.
“It’s helpful for them to get on campus and see how much fun Kettering is,” Mikolaiczik said. “LITE is a pretty accurate representation of what life is like at Kettering in terms of dealing with classes and the fun things to do outside of school.”