Ashley Montufar '14 rarely slows down. But she will soon channel her energy, appropriately enough, into a new career in….the energy industry.
Montufar is busily completing her studies and will graduate in spring with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, a master's in engineering management, plus certificates in both systems engineering and project management. She recently completed service as president of the Stevens Student Government Association (SGA), formerly served as president of the campus chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and was a member of Stevens' successful 2013 Solar Decathlon team. Her social life, as a member of both Delta Phi Epsilon sorority and the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, has never been more active.
As if that weren't enough, she frequently volunteered as a tour guide for new employees and prospective freshmen.
"I didn't do all this to build my resume," she explains. "I did it all for the enjoyment of it. I chose Stevens because it was a small school and because I could participate at a high level in so many activities this way. I wanted to make the most of the experience that Stevens has to offer."
While she bids goodbye to Hoboken in May, the Bergen County native will remain a New Jersey resident, joining the world's largest energy concern, ExxonMobil, this summer in a role as a project engineer designing laboratory spaces and process in the company's Clinton research and development facility. Montufar says she's excited to make an immediate impact on the industry leader's new research — for example, helping build and outfit a miniature lab to test fuels for a specific automobile manufacturer's latest motors according to exacting specifications.
"My work will always depend on whatever is currently being researched," she says, "so it will be ever-changing. That was one of the things that really attracted me to the position."
Montufar already knows her new employer exceptionally well, having served three previous internships with ExxonMobil in places like Alabama, Texas and California prior to the job offer. Her responsibilities ranged far and wide, from researching market intelligence and response in Angola and Canada out of the company's Houston office to redesigning wells on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and analyzing saltwater corrosion in pipelines off the coast of southern California.
"It was so amazing, even more so because my first internship on the platforms occurred when I was just 19," she says of her internship experiences. "It's great to see things you have drawn up on paper working in real life. I was not even fully trained in some of these technical areas when I arrived, and yet I was still able to solve problems I was handed using my knowledge."
Of her Stevens experience, Montufar says it was so fulfilling that she made an early decision to remain enrolled for a fifth year in order to complete master's and certificate programs — a decision she says was crucial during her job search.
"The undergraduate program was excellent, it really prepared me well, and I soon realized that I wanted to learn more about the management side," she recalls. "In our systems engineering and engineering management graduate programs, you really experience such a different side of industry; you're able to develop soft skills that give you a whole package to sell yourself to a company with.
"You may be strong technically already from the undergraduate education, but now you can communicate, you can manage projects. You're more than simply book-smart."