In high school, Ann Majewicz Fey knew she wanted to be an engineer, although she wasn’t exactly sure what a future in the profession looked like.

“It wasn’t until I got to St. Thomas and started seeing all the exciting things students were doing in robotics that I realized robotics could be a path for me,” said Majewicz Fey ’08, who originally started out as a mechanical engineering major. “That’s how I got into electrical engineering, as well, and that’s what led me to my job today.”

Majewicz Fey is now an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, where she teaches mechanical engineering and conducts surgical robotics research.

“In my lab, we hope to improve human health by designing novel surgical robotic systems that are easier and more intuitive to use,” Majewicz Fey said.

“For our research in surgical robotics, we have to do a little bit of everything,” she continued. “We have to build the robotic systems, we also have to design electronics that control the system, and we have to write software that makes the whole thing work.”

St. Thomas was an exciting and vibrant place to be a young engineering student, she said. It was also a place for growth. With an original focus solely on mechanical engineering, Majewicz Fey switched gears after happening upon a robotics group on campus. This discovery led her to add an electrical engineering major to her studies to achieve her goal of dual engineering majors and her dream of designing robots.

“I chose to go to the University of St. Thomas because I knew it was a Catholic institution, which was what I wanted for my undergrad and also because they had a very strong engineering program,” she said. “I didn’t really realize how important that choice was until later when I saw how beneficial my education was to the rest of my career.”

One of the reasons she was inspired to become a professor herself was because of her experience with St. Thomas faculty who were willing to go the extra mile for her as she was working on multiple degrees.

“The engineering professors cared so much about me and my career,” she said. “They were willing to do things that were more unconventional to help me achieve my dreams.”

“I had my own category in graduation,” she laughed. “It was Bachelor of Science in mechanical and electrical engineering. I was the last person to walk across the stage, and I lost my hat.”

Majewicz Fey also has some words of wisdom for the next generation of young women with dreams of becoming an engineer.

“My advice to girls who are interested in science and technology would be not to lose sight of what you’re passionate about,” she said. “Even if you are one of two girls in a classroom, or at your first job and there aren’t any other women there – that’s OK – it doesn’t matter. The only things that matter are that you are willing to work hard toward your ultimate goal, whether it’s getting a degree or becoming a professor, and to not let yourself feel like you’re the only one.”

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