May 3, 2016

Megan VanFleteren: Portrait of a 2016 SVSU graduate

From: Troy

High school: Bishop Foley Catholic

Major: mechanical engineering

Future: product engineer, Elkringer North America

Megan-VanFleteren-LabHeading into a profession that is over 75 percent dominated by males is just one more challenge for Megan VanFleteren to overcome.

The mechanical engineering major and Foundation Scholar from Troy has learned to adapt and persevere in the face of adversity, and does so with a positive attitude.

“Yes, it was intimidating at first. There were times I felt overwhelmed, but in engineering, if you’re not stressed, you’re not doing it right,” she said.

VanFleteren collaborated on her senior project with a team of mechanical engineering students. They worked with B&P Process Equipment in downtown Saginaw to help the company separate two types of movement in a commercial mixer. The group has been able to get hands-on experience sitting down with the client, finding out what their needs are and figuring out how to solve their problems.

“Megan has proven that she can effectively perform the necessary engineering duties, is very thorough with great attention to detail, and will follow up to ensure she is meeting all expectations,” said Brian Fitz, engineering supervisor at B&P Process Equipment.

“It has been a pleasure working with Megan and I would recommend her for anyone seeking a well-rounded engineer.”

VanFleteren recently accepted a position as a product engineer at Elkringer North America in Canton, Michigan. Her experiences at SVSU have shown her that she doesn’t want to sit behind a desk all day making models. She would prefer to meet face-to-face with customers to address their needs.

VanFleteren’s determination in the classroom is complimented by her enthusiasm and pride for SVSU. 

“Megan is a good student and has always performed well in class. Her strong passion for SVSU sets her apart,” said Brooks Byam, professor of mechanical engineering.

As a freshman, Megan was inspired to get involved on campus by her sister Emily VanFleteren, who graduated last year and is a teacher at Swan Valley Middle School, near Saginaw. Emily was a familiar face on campus to most students, faculty, and staff, which helped open a lot of doors for her sister, but also cast a sizable shadow.

“While we are both very similar, our programs of study are very different,” Megan VanFleteren said. “We were involved in a lot of the same things, but I was able to develop my own leadership style and make my own path.”

Megan’s involvement with the student organization Forever Red has been the most rewarding experience for her at SVSU. She was able to grow professionally and polish her leadership skills as well as network with many influential community leaders. She loved being able to work with students who were likeminded in their quest to serve as a liaison between the student body, and SVSU faculty and alumni.

Forever Red led Megan to her first internship. At a networking event, she made a connection with a man who worked at Control Power Company. Luck would have it that his wife attended Bishop Foley High School, the same small Catholic school in Madison Heights where VanFleteren graduated in 2012. She was able to learn a lot during her internship and loved being thrown into an environment where she was able to observe the electrical power industry firsthand.

Staying involved with SVSU after graduation is very important to her. She wants to create a bond with the students just as the alumni did with her. VanFleteren hopes to be successful enough in her field that she is asked to come back for the Dinner with 50 event that invites 50 alumni to have dinner with 50 students.

“Getting involved on campus has been my favorite part, has made me love SVSU as much as I do, and has made me the person I am today,” she said. “I hope that everyone who comes here has the same feelings about SVSU that I do.”