2002 Irv Otris Scholarship Winner - Rita Thomas

Rita Thomas was awarded the $500 Irv Otis Scholarship from the Detroit Chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). Rita was presented the scholarship during National Engineering Week at the Engineering Society of Detroit’s (ESD) Banquet on February 20.

The scholarship, which is awarded each year by the Detroit IIE Senior Chapter, is based on grade point average, IIE student chapter participation and nomination by the Faculty advisor for the student’s chapter. Rita is an Industrial Engineering senior at Wayne State University (WSU). She grew up in Detroit and graduated from Regina High School in 1994. She currently lives in Troy. Rita plans on graduating in May of this year. She will receive a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Engineering with an emphasis in Manufacturing. Rita has been an active member of her IIE student chapter since it was resuscitated in October 2000. She is in charge of the Activities Committee, which gives her responsibility for recruiting new members and coordinating social activities for the chapter. Her recruiting duties have played a key role in growing the newly revived chapter. 

When asked about her involvement in the IIE student chapter at Wayne State, Rita replied “I feel that IIE has become an integral part of learning for students in the Industrial Engineering Department. Not only does the organization provide plant tours and guest speakers, but there is diversity and a great deal of community work in which we participate.” Rita was nominated by her faculty advisor, Dr. Leslie Monplaisir, Assistant Professor at Wayne State University. In his nomination of Rita, Dr. Monplaisir states, “Rita is a mentor and inspiration to newer members of the WSU IIE chapter. I think she is very deserving of this honor based on the excellent record of achievement with the WSU student chapter.”

Rita has accumulated valuable work experience through internships during her years at Wayne State. Currently, Rita is interning at Visteon, where she is working on a lean manufacturing project. She has also received a research grant for winter 2002. She will be studying the effects of interruption on humans and multi-tasking capabilities. She has also worked at GM Ovonic in Troy and at McNaughton-McKay Electric Company in Madison Heights. After graduation, Rita would like to work as an Industrial Engineer somewhere in the Detroit area.

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