Student Profile: Catherine Ledoux

Catherine Ledoux
Q: What are your majors, and why did you choose them?

I am a mechanical engineering major with a secondary major in keyboard performance, where I’m studying the pipe organ. I knew coming into college that I wanted to be a mechanical engineering major because my dad is an engineer. Growing up, I was always working on projects with him and was always curious about how things work.

Q: How did you first gain interest in playing the organ?

I have played the piano since I was 8 and the organ starting in high school. I wanted to keep up my music studies; so, I chose to do a secondary major and joined the organ studio at Baylor. The instrument itself is a feat of engineering. To be able to learn the acoustic engineering behind the organ and realize that my music is bringing to life an instrument that engineers built — I think that’s really beautiful.

Q: Why did you become an undergraduate teaching fellow, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I’ve always been interested in potentially teaching one day, and I wanted to see what that side of the classroom is like. I became an undergraduate teaching fellow, which is similar to a teaching assistant, this year. What I love most about my role is being able to set the freshmen class on their path of engineering. I really aim to better their experiences in those first couple intro classes and improve their impression of engineering.

Q: You interned with XTO Energy last summer. What was your biggest takeaway?

It was a field rotation. Every day, I went to different frack sites, wells and rigs, and immersed myself in that field. I realized how many people are required for a process; it’s not just engineers but all the operators, construction workers and maintenance crews that keep the actual work up and running and happening. It was amazing to see the part that everyone plays and the way teamwork goes into all of those processes.

Q: What was your internship with Schoenstein & Co. Pipe Organ Builders like?

I was able to blend my interest in engineering with my passion for organ music during this internship. I was mostly working in the shop and really getting to use my hands. I also got to shadow their engineer and look at how he drafts designs. It was a very small company where everyone was so welcoming and so ready to teach. It’s such a unique field, and I truly can’t imagine a better way to spend that summer.

Q: What is your message to incoming engineering students?

Ask questions and reach for opportunities. There is so much that you can do with engineering. It’s easy to let those opportunities slip by sometimes because you’re hesitant to speak up or hesitant to ask. Your professors, your university and your network connections want to help you thrive so that you can change the world as an engineer. You’re not going to do that by staying in your comfort zone. You’re going to do that when you stretch yourself, look for new opportunities and ask for new opportunities.

Q: What are your future plans and goals?

I will graduate in December. This summer, I’m will intern with GE Aviation, doing a technical internship with them. They manufacturer jet engines for commercial and military use. I’m excited about that and excited to see where that may lead to opportunities after graduation. I look forward to graduation, entering the industry and starting work as an engineer.