Jackie Bellefeuille has been interested in engineering and science for as long as she can remember. Coming into college, she knew she wanted to study engineering, but she wasn’t sure which discipline was right for her. She found the answer in the SEAS introduction to engineering course her freshman year.
Jackie selected systems engineering as her major and is excited about the possibilities it has opened up for her. Last summer, in fact, she used her systems engineering knowledge while working as an intern with CAE, Inc., a manufacturer of simulation technologies, modeling technologies, and training services. Jackie was a member of a team that worked on design thinking problems, trying to find ways to improve training program processes for a CAE client.
“It was so much fun,” she says. “It was different from any other internship
I’ve had. Design thinking is much more creative and you get to look at all the different problems and solutions and make judgments to try to create a cohesive plan of action to fix the problems.”
Jackie served as an intern at CAE through the Clark Engineering Scholars Program. As a Clark Scholar she found internships, worked with an alumni mentor, and even participated in a study abroad semester. During the fall of her junior year, she and three other GW students studied at Korea University. She found it both difficult and rewarding. “I usually think I’m pretty independent, but that was definitely a challenge,” she recalls. “It was such a mind opening experience.”
Jackie also credits other SEAS experiences with opening her mind and teaching her new skills. She’s been involved in a number of activities during college, most notably the GW Robotics Team, the GW chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, and the SEAS peer mentor program. She co-founded the GW Robotics Team her freshman year, building the membership base, getting funding for the team, and leading the team to its first competition, where it won a design excellence award.
Jackie believes she learned valuable teamwork skills from the robotics team and important lessons from other experiences she has had at SEAS. And she very succinctly sums up the philosophy that has served her so well as a student. “Always take the opportunities that are given to
you and be ready to go,” she advises.