Three Minutes with Alumna Emily Welch ’22

Emily Welch graduated from the UC Irvine Master of Engineering (M.Eng) program, where she concentrated in mechanical and aerospace engineering, in June 2022. Here, she shares what drew her to the program, what she loved most about the course, and her future professional goals.

What drew you to the UCI M.Eng program?

I went to UCI for my undergraduate degree in engineering, and in my final year, Nikki [Spratt, associate director of recruitment and admissions] came to one of my classes to talk about the program. I was most excited by the fact that it was a one-year intensive program. I had internships at Northrop Grumman before graduating with my bachelor’s degree in December 2020, and I knew I didn’t want to be out of industry for too long getting another degree. I also liked that the program had students with a wide variety of backgrounds all on the same page and working toward the same goal.

What part of the M.Eng program was most helpful to you in your career trajectory?

The program really helped me become a more confident presenter. A significant component of my job is presenting my work to colleagues who have more experience than I do, which can be intimidating. Leading up to the capstone project, we were giving presentations around three times a week, and now I feel much more confident in that aspect of my job.

You mentioned that you started interning at Northrop Grumman as an undergraduate, and you’re still there. Can you tell us more about your career?

I started interning at Northrop before I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in the fall of 2020. When I started the M.Eng program in September 2021, my management was extremely supportive and gave me part-time flexible hours so that I could continue working while getting my master’s degree. As soon as I finished the program, I went back to working full-time in the thermal department, and I hope to stay at Northrop for years to come.

Was there any particular professor in the M.Eng program who deserves special recognition?

Derek Dunn-Rankin, the director of the program, was so supportive as both a person and a professor. He really cared about all of the students and checked in on how we were doing as students and in our professional lives. Overall, the student connection to faculty in the program was wonderful and made me feel so supported.