Ryan Utterback: Outstanding senior in industrial engineering

Major: Industrial Engineering

Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa

Clubs and activities: The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), undergraduate teaching assistant, undergraduate research assistant, the Engineering Ambassador and Mentor Program (TEAM), and the Rapid Manufacturing Club

Awards and honors: First Place IISE Midwest Region Technical Paper Competition, best presentation at the IE undergraduate research symposium, second place excellence in quality award in IE361, TEAM rookie of the year award, Bert & Joan Lamberti Scholarship, and the College of Engineering Dean’s List

Who was your most influential mentor while at Iowa State?
Without a doubt, Frank Peters, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering. I remember being nervous my freshman year to visit Dr. Peters in his office with the intent to learn more about undergraduate research opportunities. I couldn’t be happier that I did speak to him that day. Fast forward to my senior year, I am an undergraduate teaching assistant and research assistant, both under Dr. Peters. He has always been someone I look up to as a mentor for advice and guidance in the field.

What’s your favorite memory of your time at Iowa State?
One of my favorite memories would be living in Helser Hall my freshman year. It is always fun to look back on the late nights with new friends. Living in such close proximity to so many people was a recipe for many good times.

What’s your favorite place on campus?
Central campus. With the grand presence of Curtis and Beardshear to the east and west with the campanile and MU to your south, you feel completely immersed in our great campus at Iowa State.

What’s your advice for first-year students just starting at Iowa State engineering students?
Get to know as many faculty members and fellow students in your department as possible! Not only does it make getting through your classes more manageable, but you’ll also make great friendships.

What’s one lesson you’re taking away from this challenging pandemic year?
You are rarely alone in your struggles regardless of the subject matter. Whether you are struggling with isolation at home or with a challenging class, chances are someone else is in your exact position and would be more than willing to offer assistance.

What are your plans for after graduation?
Following graduation, I will be moving to Iowa City to start my career as a Process Engineer with Procter and Gamble.

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