Cassy Gardner Vacaville, Calif. / 24 Biological Systems Engineering BS, 2013 University of California, Davis Automation Engineer Banks Integration Group, Vacaville, Calif. I work at a consulting firm and help clients (mostly large biotech and pharmaceutical companies) automate their manufacturing processes. Not only do I learn about how life-saving drugs are manufactured, I take part in the process. Clients come to us with difficult issues that require creative solutions. We address their needs through varied hardware and software applications. Most of my time is spent programming and documenting solutions. I also travel to client job sites, which is somewhat akin to being on the set of “How It’s Made.” Travel days are spent installing and testing our solution, which can be high stress, but is ultimately the best part. You see your handiwork in action! I enjoy the client-vendor relationship and especially seeing our customers pleased with what we provide. At work, I have also taken the lead on an internal, company wide initiative, which has been very motivating. The initiative aims to improve the company’s technical practices and culture via employee-led projects. I facilitate and help generate ideas for internal projects and bring them to fruition. I’m a people person, and this a great leadership opportunity. It’s different from engineering but something I like. Believe it or not, I also do taxidermy! Yes, the one with the dead animals. A high school teacher introduced me to it, and it led to a part-time job during college. The UCD Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology hired and trained me to prepare specimens to be used in scientific studies. My role focused on feathered creatures, and I have prepped birds of many sizes: from hummingbirds to great horned owls. As with engineering, I came to appreciate the beautiful, miraculous cycle of life when interacting with it in a creative way.
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