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Whitney McMackin '10

Communications Manager, UTC Aerospace Systems

Whitney McMackin

I looked at a lot of colleges when I was in high school, and I applied to Smith early decision. In my wanderings I had found that Smith was the only college where I could feel a strong community of possibilities. Everyone I had met at Smith was focused, strong and determined— who could ask for anything more?

When I got to Smith I wanted to major in theater, but after taking Engineering for Everyone and working for a semester designing a creative developmental toy for infants, I was hooked: there was a real customer and real infants waiting to use this toy. When we delivered our final product, the customer couldn't thank us enough. We had a made a difference and created something useful for others. For the next three and a-half years I designed photovoltaic systems, fuel cells, remote control airplanes, and a geothermal system for Stop & Shop.

I left Smith with a job designing fuel cells and later moved into the aerospace industry at UTC Aerospace Systems designing aircraft components for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Currently, I work on the leadership team of the Air Management Systems business unit as the communications manager, where I am responsible for communications to both our internal and external customers.

The Picker Engineering Program at Smith taught me how to be an engineer—how to problem solve, how to communicate, how to lead, and how to see the big picture. I didn't sit in a class of 100 people and do textbook problems, I was given real-world problems to tackle with 20 other strong women, and through many trials and tribulations, we worked to solve them.