IEP Alumni Feature: Where It All Began

We recently asked IEP alum Jodi Ashmun, a long-time supporter of the program, why she chooses to give to the IEP each year.

Jodi (Senger) Ashmun 01

German & Mechanical Engineering

I enjoy supporting the International Engineering Program (IEP) since it definitely helped shape my path to where I am today. I truly believe in a dual language education starting as early as possible. I myself struggled when learning a new language in college. I started the IEP late, in my second semester, after I found out that a bunch of my friends were doing it. I knew I needed to take a language and chose German, figuring that I could change my mind later, never once thinking I would actually end up landing an internship in Germany.

I went on a URI study tour to visit German companies that first summer and had so much fun with Dr. Grandin, IEP’s founder, and Dr. von Reinhart. A few years later, I made it to Germany and completed an internship at Volkswagen. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses, but what an accomplishment! While in Germany, I made lots of great friends, traveled a bunch, and still have some of the best memories of my lifetime from the time I was there. While I don’t use the language often nowadays, whenever I am back in a German-speaking country, it comes back to me. I don’t know everything but I know plenty to get by. I really do credit Dr. Grandin as one of the main catalysts during my college years.

As I look back on some of my accomplishments as an adult, I definitely think of how both high school and college shaped me and made me driven to survive and thrive in a male-dominated field. Today I spend countless hours with middle school girls and other K-12 students, showing them that engineering is a path for them through my work with the MABLE SWE Next middle school STEM group, the Society of Women Engineers, and other groups. I also share my international experience and suggest study abroad as a possibility to everyone – it just creates more culturally aware people.

A couple of years ago, I earned the level of Engineering Fellow at Raytheon, something that less than three percent of engineers receive, of which only six percent are female! I was also recently recognized by YWCA with the Katharine F. Erskine Award in Health and Technology for my work and outreach activities. Just last month, I was honored with a WE Local Legacy Award from the Society of Women Engineers for my service to the SWE mission, my mentoring and outreach of K-12 students and my work accomplishments, another amazing achievement. I am proud of everything I have accomplished, but even more proud to be a role model for other women to follow in my footsteps!

And in case you would like to join me in giving to the IEP, you can do so by going online here or by mailing a check to URIFAE, PO Box 1700, Kingston, RI 02881. Don’t forget: Your company may even match your donation, as Raytheon does for me!