What’s New? The Latest From Our Alumni Network

Meghan Soens ‘05

Spanish & Biomedical Engineering
Marlborough, MA – On January 1, 2022, Meghan Soens was promoted to Area Vice President, Sales at Boston Scientific Endoscopy.

Photo courtesy of Nika McManus

Nika McManus ‘05

TU Braunschweig Dual Masters, Mechanical Engineering

We are all so deeply grateful to have been granted the opportunity by Dr. Grandin to be a part of the amazing International Engineering Program! This wonderful program has helped numerous engineers receive an excellent, unique, one-of-a-kind education with the University of Rhode Island. The terrific work, the valuable relationships, and the global possibilities that the International Engineering Program prepares its engineers for are absolutely infinite!

Michael Brenker on site at Vinbiocare, outside Hanoi, Vietnam. (Photo courtesy of Michael Brenker)

Michael Brenker ‘06

German & Ocean Engineering
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – I have been living in Vietnam since 2016, working at startups, as a consultant, and at multinational manufacturers, based in Ho Chi Minh City.

For my most recent project I worked for a German company, Rieckermann Engineering Operations, alongside a team which covered a dozen countries, supporting a division of Vingroup, the largest conglomerate in Vietnam, to build a new mRNA Covid vaccine factory outside the capital city of Hanoi.

Family photos in RI with their newly arrived baby girl. (Photo courtesy of Sareh Rajaee)

Sareh Rajaee ‘06

German & Biomedical Engineering
Brooklyn, NY – I am a board-certified vascular surgeon with a focus on venous disease. I currently work at the Vein Treatment Clinic in New York City. I got married on a boat in NYC in September, 2021. My husband and I welcomed our first child, Darya Rumi on April 27, 2022. I should say she was our first human child and her precursor was our first fur child: a female rescue Beagle named Sylvan. All four of us are happily living in Brooklyn, NY but visit our getaway home in RI as often as we can.

Sarah L. Koenig ‘07

French & Industrial and Systems Engineering
CT, at Pratt and Whitney, a division of Raytheon Technologies – I was selected as a recipient of the Emerging Leader Award from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). This award honors an individual who identifies as a woman, who has been actively engaged in the fields of engineering or engineering technology and has demonstrated significant professional leadership accomplishments. Recipients must have 10 to 15 years of experience in the field of engineering.

Graeme O’Connell ‘09

Chinese & Biomedical Engineering
Research Triangle Park, NC – In April 2022, the startup company I had been working for (SonoVol) was acquired by PerkinElmer – a change that has made a positive impact on the company and its employees. We are now re-designing the Vega, our flagship device that we developed as SonoVol, within the PerkinElmer Life Sciences ecosystem, to be made available for sale world-wide. The Vega is an imaging device that is designed for pre-clinical research applications and can be operated without a sonographer.

Raymond Penza ‘09

German & Mechanical Engineering
CT – My wife and I welcomed our second daughter, Robin Olivia Penza, into the world on July 12th.

Rachael Browning ‘11

Chinese & Chemical Engineering
St. Louis, MO – I was promoted to Global Director Packaging Development for Purina PetCare R&D.

Daniel C. Danckert ‘12

German & Chemical Engineering
Milford, MA – Dan was recently promoted to Reliability Engineering Lab Manager at Waters Corporation, where he oversees the day-to-day operation of a 6000-sq ft evaluation lab space. He still retains his original position as a Sr. Reliability Engineer.

Katie Bryan ‘19

German & Civil Engineering
Little Rock, AR – I am working in Arkansas for a mid-size firm at Halff Associates (more southern regional base – Texas to Florida). While I’m still learning and growing as a professional, I am a segment leader for an $8 million project that includes 21 bridges. It has been a great opportunity to learn the behind the scenes to project management. While I’m not using my German degree, I am using all of the lessons that I got while being immersed in a foreign country, and being forced to use the other side of my brain in class. I feel much more competent, assured, and able to adapt, directly because of my experience abroad.

Ian McElroy poses in front of the Forssea Robotics company logo. (Photo courtsey of Ian McElroy)

Ian McElroy ‘19

French & Ocean Engineering
Paris, France – I started working at an underwater robotics company called Forssea Robotics here in Paris, France two years ago. I work as a software developer for our Robot team, which develops our smart Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) Argos and Atoll. We develop these ROVs for underwater exploration and inspection of off-shore structures, in particular off-shore wind farm turbines. I work mostly in French, and since we are a small company my ocean engineering background has been a big asset for the team.

Photo of William Unkelbach taken during the URI rowing team’s participation in the Knecht Cup, April 2022. (Courtesy of William Unkelbach)

William Unkelbach ‘22

TU Darmstadt Dual Masters, Mechanical Engineering
RI – I joined the URI rowing team in the fall and raced all over the country. In April 2022 the team went down to New Jersey to compete in the Knecht Cup. Living in the IEP LLC and being on a collegiate sports team has been a great opportunity to have an authentic American university experience.