Women in engineering profile: Michelle Zboray
International Women in Engineering Day, celebrated on June 23, 2018, celebrates the achievements of females in various engineering industries. Here’s a Q&A with Michelle Zboray.
To honor International Women in Engineering Day, Consulting-Specifying Engineer asked select people to answer questions about their background and mentors and their career path. Here’s a Q&A with one of them.
Name: Michelle Zboray
Position: Material Control Supervisor, Victaulic, Easton, Pa.
CSE: What or who was your biggest motivation in becoming an engineer?
Zboray: My older brother, who I have always looked up to, went to Lehigh University and majored in engineering. Math and science were always my favorite subjects growing up and so it was a natural decision for me to go to Lehigh and major in engineering. At Lehigh I was exposed to industrial engineering and was excited to find a field that was all about finding ways to be more efficient. I was also part of an Integrated Business and Engineering honors program, which allowed students to learn in smaller settings and have one-on-one time with the professors to provide career guidance and subject matter coaching.
CSE: While you were in college, what helped shape your decision to specialize in your area of expertise?
Zboray: In college my class had several sessions dedicated to a lean manufacturing simulation. I enjoyed the simulation and it led me to pursue internships in manufacturing. During my internships I was able to experience lean manufacturing principals first hand and knew it was something I wanted to continue to study.
CSE: Do you have advice for young women just starting in the engineering field?
Zboray: Start looking early for internships; real-world experience is so important in determining what you want to do and where your skillsets are. Don’t be intimidated to ask questions or reach out to get to where you want to be.
CSE: What trends or challenges do you foresee in your field? What advice would you give to others to help adapt to these types of changes?
Zboray: A trend I am seeing is robotics and automation across all industries. We just installed two robots, which has changed how we plan our work and do our jobs. The robots are not replacing our workforce but rather supporting us and helping us become more efficient. I recommend any students take classes that relate to automation if it is available.
CSE: Describe an unusual project you worked on. What were the risks or challenges you took? Outline the success story.
Zboray: One of the biggest parts of my job is working to support client’s immediate needs and working to fulfil customers’ orders. This also involves the initial building and inventory planning when developing new products. A lot of collaboration is needed between the new product teams, customer care and supply teams to have a successful launch.
CSE: Are there professional development tips you can offer other female engineers? What helped lead to your success? This might include public speaking courses, working with a mentor, or some other advice.
Zboray: I have been fortunate to work in a manufacturing environment where I was never treated differently for being a female engineer. I think it is important for all engineers to work with a variety of mentors who are further ahead in their career, especially when you are navigating new experiences.
CSE: In your job, what’s the one thing you are most proud of? What do you want people to take away about you and your profession after meeting you only briefly?
Zboray: I take pride in the work I do and the teams in which I participate. Being a part of the team at Victaulic is the one thing in which I am most proud. Additionally, I am extremely proud of our safety ratings, we have a very safe and clean plant. We are used as a showcase for customers.
After a brief meeting I would hope people would take away that I thoroughly enjoy engineering and the work that I do at Victaulic. Engineering is a very rewarding career.