"...Online Newsletter from the Pittsburg State University College of Arts and Sciences"

Flying high at Cessna

Angela Steele Angela Steele


The perennial question for mathematics majors is, what will you do if your aren't going to teach?  Angela Steele, BS 2005, MS 2007 didn't want to teach and found her own answer.

"Four years after I entered school, I graduated and still had no idea what I wanted to do so I went to grad school," she says.  "I got to almost the end of that and I still didn't have a plan.  All I knew was that I didn't want to teach."

This wasn't because she didn't have respect for teachers.

"I have the deepest respect for teachers," explains Steele.  "I've had some super-fantastic ones in my time, many of them in high school and many of them here at Pitt State.  They set the bar too high." 

Angela went to the Spring Career Fair during her final year of graduate school. 

"I was months away from graduating and had no plan, so I told myself I was going to do this right.  I got dressed up, I talked to a lot of people, and I handed out a lot of resumes.  Then I waited."

A few weeks later she got a call from Cessna Aircraft. 

"They brought me in for an interview and a few weeks after that I got a certified letter in the mail offering me a job."

In August of 2007, Steel was hired as an associate engineer. 

"I didn't know anything about engineering," confesses Steele. "I had a minor in physics when I was an undergraduate but that's a far cry from an engineering degree.  And I knew even less about airplanes."

Steele works in the Mass Properties group, which is in the Engineering Department.  Because this group deals with a planes weight, it is often called Weight Control.

"I'm involved with each plane from start to finish, says Steele. "I work on Model 680, the Citation Sovereign, which is one of Cessna's jets."

Angela says that, although she doesn't often use math directly in her job, there's lots of computer work. 

"But I definitely do use those problem solving skills," she says. 

A cool part of her job is that she's had the opportunity to go on a test flight on an XLS+, one of Cessna's newest planes.

"I got to go along for one of the flights in the final stages of development of that model," she says.  "They did a couple of extra take-offs and landings, which made my stomach a little queasy, but the pilots never did anything really scary. It was a really neat opportunity I'm glad I got to be a part of."

Angela emphasizes that math majors really can do a lot of things with math. 

"Your options are wide open.  You just have to watch for those opportunities, have a good attitude, and learn as much as you can."


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