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Ali Brown, a junior at the University of Nebraska, has been awarded one of the two Ferguson-Women in the Mechanical Industry (WiMI) Scholarships.
Ferguson underwrites these scholarships, which recognize high-achieving female students working toward a degree relative to the mechanical industry.
Brown has been a member of the MCA of Omaha-sponsored Student Chapter since 2017. She attended the 2019 GreatFutures Forum and the 2019 WiMI Conference. Brown is earning her degree in business administration and human resources.
In her scholarship application, Brown discussed why she shifted her focus from the engineering and construction management side of the industry to the business side. “Even though I am now a business major I still see the mechanical construction industry as an exciting industry to be in. I see the opportunities that there are for growth in all areas of the industry,” she said.
Post-graduation, Brown sees herself working for a mechanical contractor in its human resources department. “I want to help with developing standards of practice as well as recruit new talent for my company. My goal in my career is to help people and I believe that I can achieve this goal through working in human resources,” she said.
Brown is appreciative of her involvement with her student chapter and the connections she has made with contractors through the MCA of Omaha. “We work with our contractors to plan fundraising events, recruit new student chapter members, and much more. Through our chapter I feel like I have learned more about the industry than I ever thought I would know. I have been able to see how many different companies run jobs and other day-to-day activities between our different contractors,” she said.
Brown has been interning for The Waldinger Corp., a member of the MCA of Omaha, MCAA and NCPWB, throughout her academic career. She has been involved in the administration, Virtual Design and Construction, and the accounting department.
“I enjoy the culture we have at Waldinger. I especially enjoy the internship program we have; it exposes me to all facets of the company,” she said. Brown is excited to continue her Waldinger internship this summer.
Brown reflected on her internship experiences and seeing the unique challenges and opportunities as a women in the industry. She thinks there are many challenges that come with being a woman in the mechanical contracting field.
“Since it is so male dominated, I feel like gaining the respect of coworkers is the biggest challenge that comes with being a woman in this field," she said. "Though it is a challenge I believe that also makes it an opportunity. The best way to grow personally is by taking challenges and turning them into opportunities.”