Sari and Nicholas Christensen
Another successful ME graduate? Yes, but even more so because Christensen had more difficult obstacles to overcome than most grad students.
"In May 1996, I was three months pregnant and it was my last semester of undergraduate studies. I was studying for five final exams but needing to sleep 12 hours a night. This was one of the most difficult times of my life. But I remember how supportive everyone was, including my professors. Professor Tim Osswald and his wife Diane gave me the most help and encouragement so that I could finish my BS and continue into graduate school.
"My son Nicholas was born December 6, 1996, the end of my first semester as a grad student. For the next year, I balanced being a teaching assistant, a research assistant, a student, and a single mom. I often brought Nicholas into the computer lab with me and let him play in a portable playpen while I worked. The other graduate students were also supportive and they enjoyed having Nicholas around."
Now, when Christensen is not designing packages for high-end integrated circuits at Agilent (a recent Hewlett Packard spin-off), she is the company's UW Mechanical Engineering recruiter. Her recruiting team has visited Madison several times recently to promote Agilent to students and to speak to the Society of Women Engineers about job searching and interviewing. Early in 2001, she will attend SWE's "Evening with Industry."
Nicholas is now four years old, and Christensen stays busy taking care of him and enjoying an active life. She is a runner ("I just completed my first marathon this last summer to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society"), and she likes to kick box, ski, hike, go to plays, and attend baseball games with her son.
Christensen credits Professor Osswald and then-Dean of Students Mary Rouse for helping her to get where she is today.
"Rouse commended Professor Osswald for empowering a young mother to achieve her goals. Deservedly so.
Professor Osswald is ...an extremely intelligent and noble man.
He makes his students feel like they are part of a family.
He cares about them and their future.
Any success I have achieved and will achieve is in large part due to his and his wife's kindness."
ME Newsletter is a periodic publication of the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Correspondence should be sent to the address below.
Editor: Gail Gawenda
Designer: Lynda Litzkow
SPRING 2001 Contents