Short Feature with Women's Cross Country Senior Rhiannon Farney

Rhiannon Farney in Boston before her second internship with GE.
Rhiannon Farney in Boston before her second internship with GE.

Senior Rhiannon Farney, a mechanical engineering and engineering and public policy major from Winston Salem, N.C., answers a few questions about student life at Carnegie Mellon, what she's excited this semester, why she chose her major, and how her major and internships have influenced her career decisions.

1. What do you enjoy about campus life?

What I enjoy about campus life is the variety of opportunities. There are so many organizations, academic opportunities, and social activities. Also there are many opportunities to learn from new people, whether they are a professor, a friend, or a teammate.

2. What do you get involved in outside of cross country/track and field?

I enjoy getting involved with environmental and sustainability efforts on campus. I'm president of Carnegie Mellon Solar Racing (CMSR), an organization where we try to promote the research and study of solar power by building a 20ft long, solar powered boat. I am also working this semester on promoting mitigation efforts and policy to reduce CMU's GHG emission policy based on research from my EPP Project class from Fall 2017. I also have worked a couple semesters within the Center for Atmospheric Studies (CAPS) with a doctoral student on testing an oxidation unit.

3. Tell us about an internship you've had.

I've have had two internships at GE Aviation and one within the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS) lab on campus. 

GE Aviation - Manufacturing Engineer (Long Island, Summer 2015): Worked with a production line that created motherboards for control panels. My job was to help reduce bottlenecks within the production line. To do this I created tools that the workers, the management, and the customers could use to track products on the floor. 

Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS) - Mechanical Engineering Intern (Pittsburgh, Summer 2016): I worked with three others to design and build equipment  needed in the lab. Our main job was to design the tripods that are used outside by the tennis courts. During that summer we also helped deploy the tripods across the city to collect air quality data.

GE Aviation - Technology/Engineer Intern (Boston, Summer 2017): My second internship with GE I worked as a technology engineer in component testing within fuel systems. I helped perfect testing stands to obtain better results for customers. Part of this was building the stands and understanding how to run the test benches. I also helped perform preventative maintenance to prevent breakdowns of testing stands.

4. How did you find your internships?

I found the position at GE Aviation by attending the TOC my freshman year. I emailed them my junior year asking for another opportunity, after having turned down a return offer my sophomore year in order to work in the lab and take summer classes.

As for the internship with Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS) lab, I emailed serval professors, within the mechanical engineering department, whose work I was interested in. I went through an interviewing process with a couple of them and found an open position within CAPS.

5. How did your internship help form your career decision?

My internships led me to my career. I will be starting as an Edison Engineer next year with GE Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio. For the next three years I will be part of rotational program, where they help us to learn how to build engines and further our experience within GE Aviation.

6. What are you excited about this semester?

This semester I am taking some very different classes. It's my first time in a language class (German) and a history class (Early Modern Europe) since high school, and I'm glad I have this opportunity to explore these subjects before I leave the university.

7. Why did you select your course of study – what has been a favorite class?

I chose mechanical engineering because I was interested in moving systems, particularly turbines and engines. My favorite class at CMU was Design II, where my team built a portable hydroelectric device. Going through that class was very rewarding, as it showed how much I had learned at CMU and how much I have grown with my major.

8. What class has been recommended as a MUST take at CMU?

On my team, the most recommended class is Body Politics. I've never been able to fit it within my schedule, but I would have loved to take it.

9. What have you enjoyed about living in Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh is a great city because its growing and offering more and more things to do every year. It's also a great base city, as I have been able to take weekend trips to Canada and Shenandoah National Park. Even though these two places are not a part of Pittsburgh, being able to travel to them, and having those opportunities, has enriched my experience here in Pittsburgh.