“Work Hard and Never Give Up”: An Alumna’s Advice to Current MSE Students

By Alec Arbia, Written Communications Assistant 

photo of Gabrielle Charno (MSE’17), Project Manager at Lockheed Martin

Gabrielle Charno (MSE’17), Project Manager at Lockheed Martin

When asked what advice she’d give to current materials science and engineering (mse) students, Gabrielle Charno said to “work hard and never give up. MSE classes will test you and frustrate you. You’ll have to stay up late studying and probably spend a lot of time worrying about exams and projects – but don’t let it discourage you. Engineering courses are meant to be challenging and teach you critical thinking skills. It is worth it! Keep going!”
Ever since she was little, Charno knew she wanted to go into engineering just like her dad. “I was always interested in math and science growing up. When I attended UConn’s engineering orientation, I was amazed by how many areas materials science and engineering touched. I felt it was the most diverse engineering discipline that had potential for excitement in everyday work.”
“Professor Brody was the most impactful and inspirational professor in my time at UConn,” Charno said. “He challenges you, pushes you to be a critical thinker, and helps you understand that there are many ways to solve a problem. He encourages you to work as a team and collectively brainstorm potential solutions. Professor Brody always supported my athletic commitment while on the soccer team at UConn as well.”
Charno worked at several companies before finding her current position as Program Manager at Lockheed Martin. “I started my career at Electric Boat working in the Materials and Welding Department on shipyard support and laboratory assignments. I enjoyed the hands-on nature so much that I then altered my career to focus more on manufacturing. At Nucor Steel, I was on the shop floor every day ensuring we produced the highest quality product while meeting our commercial customers’ needs and requirements. However, I did miss the defense industry, so I transitioned to my current position at Lockheed Martin working on Air Force programs within Strategic Missile Defense.”
“As a project manager, I am responsible for the execution of our program,” Charno explained. “My job consists of managing customer requirements, staying within the cost and schedule baseline, identifying risks and opportunities, and delivering our hardware on time to ensure we meet all program milestones. My favorite part of my job is the development of technology and working on products that are operated directly by our military for national defense.” 
Charno advises current mse students to utilize everything the program has to offer. “The MSE department has so many opportunities. Take an elective you think might be interesting, join a club, go after an internship, or become a researcher or TA for a professor you really admire. The network of UConn alumni in mse is extensive too. Always reach out, we like to help!”

Published: May 12, 2023

Categories: alumni, industry, news

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