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Loretta McHugh
Development Engineer
Wyman-Gordon Company

I graduated from Boston University in January 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and a minor in international relations. During my time at BU, I took one year off from my engineering studies to live and study in London, England.

I am currently a Development Engineer at Wyman-Gordon Company in North Grafton, MA. Our Wyman-Gordon plant focuses mostly on titanium and steel structural forgings for the aerospace industry and nickel forgings for the gas turbine industry. I focus on cost reduction programs for our airframe (fuselage/wing) parts by using the methodologies of 6 Sigma (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve). I have been at Wyman-Gordon for just over a year. I am also a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and I have been active with both of these organizations since college.

The most exciting part of my career is being able to "touch" what I develop. I am able to see a part through our plant from when the material first arrives to when it is shipped out the door. I even have had the opportunity to see our parts after they are machined and are getting ready to be put into the next commercial or military aircraft. I grew up always wanting to work in the aerospace industry and I enjoy being a supplier to major aerospace companies.

I grew up in Southern Maine - a town of about 7000 - large by Maine standards. I also attended one of the largest high schools, which gave me the opportunity to take college preparatory and advanced classes so that I would be ready for college. But, I was not encouraged to go into engineering - actually my physics teacher in high school discouraged me from doing so. But, I was determined and pursued a couple of summer engineering programs to prove to others and myself that this is what I wanted to do. Many of my fellow high school graduates are still in Maine and have never pursued a higher education. I often times felt that the high school was more focused on getting you graduated than encouraging you to continue studying what interests you after graduation.

The challenges did not end with deciding to go to and getting accepted to college. I decided to attend a private university instead of staying in Maine and attending the state university. I felt the programs and opportunities that BU had to offer were perfect for me and they were. But, it became very difficult as the freshman-year scholarships ran out, to keep paying the tuition. I took on a couple of part-time jobs and that in turn affected my grades. It was very difficult to find the money year after year and that was actually more challenging than studying engineering. But, when I did graduate - after five and half years, two of which I was part time, I never felt more proud of myself and more sure that that "piece of paper" was well deserved.

I live in the Northeast corner of CT with my husband, Evan, and two turtles.