QUEST Duo Succeeds in Lockheed Martin Case Competition

A. James Clark School of Engineering students Melissa Maurer (Q29) and Olivia Wolcott (Q30) took on Lockheed Martin’s Ethics in Engineering case competition in February and came out of the experience with a ton of new insight and third place! Out of the 14 teams that participated, Melissa and Olivia were 1 of 4 teams selected to move to the final round after going through three rounds of judging. I had the opportunity to chat with them about their success and takeaways from the experience.

The Lockheed Martin Ethics in Engineering case competition is a process that began in December. In January, teams received their case and had three weeks to analyze its contents. At the end of this three-week period, teams began the four-round process. Olivia and Melissa had to deliver a 90-second elevator pitch, a 10-minute presentation on the ethical engineering and business issues of the case, a 25-minute slide presentation incorporating their solution, and lastly, a 25-minute presentation with intermittent Q&A from the judges. Despite having never done an ethics competition or taken an ethics course before, both ladies were eager to take on the challenge.

Melissa Maurer (left) and Olivia Wolcott (right) at the competition

They found that one key takeaway from the experience was how to utilize all the resources available to them. They added that the main reason why the competition was manageable was because they were able to spend so much time working on it. With that being said, Melissa and Olivia were able to learn a great deal from Dr. Armstrong, their mentor, and two QUEST students who participated in the competition last year, Brooke Nesselt and Conrad Hong.  Both mentioned that they truly appreciated all of the help they received – specifically Dr. Armstrong, who would free up her schedule at any time to help in whatever way she could.

Though the government contracting case they were given allowed them to step a bit out of their comfort zone, both Melissa and Olivia found that taking on such a problem with low-stakes was really enjoyable and provided them with real-world exposure to what a problem like that would entail in a professional setting.

Overall, they emphasized that it ultimately was okay going into something not knowing a lot, but learning it all as you go. Going out of your comfort zone, taking the risk, and asking for help were three crucial skills that they prioritized throughout the process.

“The more effort you give beyond what is required, the more you can set yourself apart.”

Olivia and Melissa are interested in pursuing other case competitions in the future and the QUEST community looks forward to celebrating all of the amazing things they do next. Congratulations to you both!

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