Using an Olin Mindset after Graduation

Allison Basore ‘20

Meg Lidrbauch, class of 2017, is making a difference in the world. She works at General Electric in a rotational leadership program within the Renewable Energy department. She has used her Olin education to find a job that both fulfills her engineering interests and her passion for sustainability.


What she did here…


Over her time at Olin, Meg explored several areas before deciding on designing her own major as Engineering with Environmental Systems. When searching for summer internships, she kept her eyes open for something that would apply her desire to help the world. She realized that she was truly passionate about sustainability.


After her first year at Olin, she spent the summer on a research team at Olin with professors Jonathan Stolk and Zhenya Zastavkar  working on motivation research. There she worked on team organization, analyzing qualitative data, and programming models in Atlas TI ( a programming language). Not only did she learn how to code and collaborate with team leaders but she learned a lot about herself and her motivation. Meg says, “it shifted my lense for the rest of my time at Olin.”


Over her Sophomore summer, she knew she wanted to work on something sustainability-related. During the semester, Meg attended an alumni panel that included someone that was working at a sustainability consulting company called Thinkstep. She connected with the alumna after the panel and received an internship offer there for the summer. Meg worked in Boston with a team of ten people. She loved that the job was highly detail-oriented. Her primary role was to model complex data from environmental systems.


After a study abroad semester in the spring of her Junior year, Meg found a sustainability intern position with the facilities department at Olin for the summer. Her job for the first half of the summer was to work on modeling Olin’s energy assets. The rest of the summer, she worked with the Olin Associate Energy Engineer to set sustainability directives for Olin. For example, one of her tasks was to analyze a school-wide switch to LED lights. This summer position allowed Meg to tap into her mechanical engineering side and also to “flex her sustainability muscles.”


Meg was also involved with the Olin Conductorless Orchestra (OCO) throughout her time at Olin. She loved being being with her fellow musicians in the OCO, and associates that time with making her a more refined musician. She plays the bass clarinet and enjoys playing with others.  “Musicians are the greatest people!” she says.


What she is doing now…


Now Meg is working at General Electric (GE) in a rotational leadership program within the Renewable Energy department. A large part of her job is in wind management. She is using R - the program language - to turn data into visualizations. At her GE location in Schenectady, NY, Meg enjoys her connections with co-workers. She found this position when the CIO of GE Power gave a talk at Olin. While Meg did not want to work for the power department, she knew that by introducing herself to him, it might help her secure a position in the renewable department. Meg is thankful for the Post Graduate Planning office at Olin who set her up with a meeting with the CIO. Within a couple weeks of meeting him, she had an offer to work there after graduation.


Meg also has a passion for working with horses. Three days a week she goes to a dressage training center after work to train them. She lives in Saratoga, NY which is home to the Saratoga Race Course. At the barn, Meg has a certain horse she takes care of and trains with. She has loved horses for a long time and is excited to have the chance to be around them.


How has the Olin curriculum helped Meg?


Meg feels that the Olin mindset has helped her the most in her current position with GE. When faced with a problem or a challenge, she has a tendency to dive in, even if she doesn’t know  everything about the problem at hand. She recalls that her time in the class Linearity was a particular experience when she learned this skill. Olin also taught her to understand the analysis side of engineering. For her job, she needs to be able to understand data and process it to draw conclusions. Furthermore, at Olin, Meg grew accustomed to the flat organizational structure. She always felt open to asking questions in class and felt she was on the same level as her professors. This mindset, she says, has encouraged her to ask questions in any setting, in her current position.


Some of her favorite classes were Thermodynamics and the brand new class Environmental Analysis Engineering (EAE). In Thermodynamics, she recalls having several “A-ha” moments. She also loved learning about how the world works. In EAE, she enjoyed having a class that aligned so well with her major.


Advice for current students…


“Go after what you want, even if it’s not handed to you on a silver platter.” She says it may be uncomfortable to go down an uncharted path, but it’s up to you to shift what you do in the direction you want. At Olin, you should use your ability to steer projects in a direction that aligns with your passions.

Posted in: Alumni Speak