Alumna Spotlight: Rou Tzamaras (Q26)
With the variety of majors represented in QUEST, it is impressive to see how experiences gained in QUEST provide a clear advantage when it comes to full-time positions across all disciplines. I had the opportunity to speak with recent Clark School graduate Rou Tzamaras of Cohort 26 about her work at Stanley Black & Decker.
What do you do at Stanley Black & Decker?
My position at Stanley Black & Decker (SBD) is a bit of a mouthful. To start, I am a mechanical engineer in the SBD Leadership program, a rotational program for high potential new hires, and I am currently in my first rotation in the Power Tools and Engineering (PTE) group. Within that group, I am on the Dewalt expansion team on a subteam specializing in lighting. Currently, I am working on designing a heatsink to ensure that our light can handle the thermal load from the LED and a spring that can hold our handle in place regardless of any added battery weight.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job from an engineering standpoint is knowing that something I spend time doing calculations on and working hard to iterate and prototype will be a functional part of our product and be in every unit that gets produced and sold. My current project volume is about 32,000 units, meaning that every unit will work thermally because of a heatsink I designed. In my mind, I more or less touched every single one, and I find that very fascinating to think about.
From a personal standpoint, SBD has many community service initiatives, and I have been able to join the Community Involvement community within the leadership program. Knowing that my company cares about being present in the community and donating products, money, and time to help people makes me feel good about my choice to work here.
What’s something that surprised you when starting out in the workplace?
The thing that surprised me the most when I started working was how little I actually know about how life works. For real, learn about benefits, investments, the stock market, 401ks, loans, how to buy a car, etc. as much as you can before you find yourself faced with these things. Another thing that surprised me is how lax many of my peers are about saving money. Don’t wait to set up your 401k! And look for companies that do 401k matching. Seriously, you won’t regret it!
What is your favorite memory of QUEST?
My favorite memory of QUEST is most definitely my 490H capstone team and when we went to Missouri with Dr. Armstrong to visit our project site. Dr. Armstrong is one of my favorite professors ever, and my 490H team got along extremely well so it is was fun to go on plant tours of Orbital ATK with them and figure out how to frame our project. A few other great memories are doing the mannequin challenge in Dr. Suarez’s class, Max Samuels playing his Ukulele in 390H, and Dr. Bailey’s bowties.
How has QUEST made a difference in your career as an engineer?
QUEST has made a difference for me by influencing how I approach problem-solving by pushing me to think more deeply about the best solution. My job is design, and design inherently requires problem-solving as ideas are formed into prototypes, prototypes are tested, and we push toward production. I understand the business and marketing side of our products more than the average engineer, and I have a solid background in Lean Six Sigma processes which helps as well. Also, QUEST taught me how to work with diverse teams, which is extremely relevant in the design world.
Rou was also recently featured on the Tuesday Takeovers on the QUEST Instagram page (@questumd). QUEST students are truly unparalleled in their unique experiences in the program, pushed to excel beyond expectations, and go on to make waves in the workplace just as Rou is at SBD!