Careers & Alumni

Common ME Career Paths

Employment sectors (with example job responsibilities) for graduates with ME degrees include:

  • Education and Research: Teaching at the high school through university level, cutting-edge electronics and engineering research at universities and government research centers
  • Engineering Consulting & Public Service: Design and operation of public works including power generation, building systems, and structure design.
  • Industry: Design of components and systems for a wide range of mechanical and thermal systems including: automotive, aviation, defense applications, energy production, robotics, materials development, etc.

Alumni Profiles

Stephanie Wilson (’88, S.B. Engineering Sciences) - Astronaut, NASA

Inspired by the stars she could see from her backyard in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Stephanie Wilson decided to become an astronaut. After completing her S.B. degree at Harvard, she went on to earn a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas.  Today, Wilson works in the Astronaut Office Shuttle Operations Branch at the Johnson Space Center. She was assigned to the crew of STS-120, a shuttle flight responsible for mounting U.S. Node 2 to the International Space Station, which provides attach locations for the Japanese laboratory, European laboratory, the Centrifuge Accommodation Module, and later, Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules.

Jackie Stenson (‘09, S.B. Engineering Sciences) - Social Entrepreneur

After graduating from Harvard with her S.B. degree, Jackie was awarded a Gardner Fellowship for post-graduate purposeful travel, and she spent the next two years traveling from Ethiopia to South Africa overland. “I knew from my undergraduate coursework and time spent at MIT's D-Lab that I wanted to work on designing low-cost, life-improving technologies for rural areas in developing countries. During my two years of traveling, I realized that most of the products I wanted to design already existed, and have existed for the past 40 years. Rather, the challenge is that these technologies were not reaching their intended end users in a way that was scalable or sustainable.” After finishing her travels, Jackie enrolled in a Masters program at the University of Cambridge called Engineering for Sustainable Development where she focused on technology dissemination strategies in low-income areas, and how life-improving technologies could be better diffused throughout society.

After finishing her Masters, Jackie co-founded a social enterprise, called Essmart, that provides the marketing, distribution, and after-sales service needed to get a suite of life-improving technologies into local, village-level retail shops, where end users can finally learn about and access these products. Essmart began operations in southern India in 2012, and Jackie recently relocated to Bangalore to be closer to her team and their work in the rural villages. Essmart currently operates 6 distribution centers throughout Tamil Nadu, India, and distributes a catalogue of 66 different socially impactful products to a network of over 600 local retail shops.

Thomas Dibenedetto (’14, S.B. Mechanical Engineering) - Skanska USA

After graduating from Harvard,  Thomas began working for Skanska USA Civil Northeast with the Kendall Cogeneration Station in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The power plant provides both electricity and steam to buildings and residents in Cambridge, and it currently uses a cooling system whereby unused steam is cooled by water from the Charles River. The waste heat from this power plant is currently disrupting the local ecosystem, so Skanska is working update the power plant in order to mitigate these effects.