Outstanding Graduate, Fall 2021
Kara Ferguson always wanted to be an engineer, but narrowing her focus to a single discipline was a challenge. Ferguson is captivated by the processes and workings of many different things. So, it was a revelation and a relief when she discovered industrial engineering at Arizona State University.
“There are so many paths and focus areas within this field,” she says. “There’s operations research, engineering management, statistics and more. It really allows me to pursue all of my interests.”
Ferguson says Linda Chattin, a principal lecturer of industrial engineering at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, was the first faculty member with whom she connected at ASU. Chattin also was instrumental to her discovery of industrial engineering and to her growth as a student.
“She is a great instructor, as well as a very welcoming and helpful person,” Ferguson says. “She also opened doors to so many opportunities for me. I would not be where I am today without her, and I am very appreciative for her guidance.”
Among those opportunities was service as an undergraduate teaching assistant for two semesters of an industrial engineering probability course, as well as data analysis work focused on student retention for the Academic and Student Affairs department in the Fulton Schools.
Ferguson also says the experience of service motivated her time as a chairperson for ASU’s chapter of Theta Tau, the professional engineering fraternity.
“One favorite activity that I planned was coordinating our production of dog toys for the Lost Our Home Pet Rescue organization,” she says. “We bought fabric in multiple colors and cut them into strips so that everyone at the event could mix and match them while making their toys. It was very rewarding to deliver our handmade donations to the nonprofit’s employees and volunteers.”
Moving forward from her time at ASU, Ferguson hopes to apply her industrial engineering skills to work for distribution centers or transportation systems.
“I want to help make those processes faster and more efficient,” she says. “We have so many opportunities to solve problems and make the world a better place.”