Sarah Schmidt ('05) | Physics

sarah schmidt

E.On. Climate & Renewables,
wind energy developer

The path that Sarah Schmidt took to her job in Austin might sound like a zigzag route, but for her it turned out to be a straight shot to happiness.

Thanks to a bachelor's degree in physics from ACU in 2005, Sarah was able to easily get into graduate school at Iowa State University, where she started work on a master's in meteorology and then added engineering mechanics.

With all those disciplines on her resume - physics, meteorology and engineering - Sarah nailed a job interview with wind energy developer E.On Climate & Renewables North America Inc. in Austin.

The road to her dream job started at ACU.

"Had I not gotten a degree in physics, it would have been very difficult to add an engineering major at the last minute to my master's degree," Sarah said.

Going with the wind

While in grad school, Sarah, who grew up in Mankato, Minn., developed an interest in the wind energy industry. Adding the engineering major to meteorology was a step toward working in that field.

"God blessed me with the right education and timing to get the job I dreamed of," Sarah said. "Had I not added an engineering major to my master's degree I would have graduated earlier and my current job would not have been available."

Sarah's job is essential to the rapidly developing wind energy industry. She designs meteorological measurements at potential wind farm locations, analyzes the quality of the wind at the site, designs wind farm layouts and determines their potential energy output.

Why ACU?

After Sarah graduated from ACU and started applying at graduate schools, it didn't take long to realize just how valuable her ACU education was.

Not only did she get the "book learning" needed for success, she also developed skills such as good study habits.

She also learned in graduate school that not all students had experienced the one-on-one relationship with professors that she did at ACU. That made it easy for her to approach professors in graduate school - something that graduates from larger universities were reluctant to do.

Some large universities like to tout their engineering departments, but Sarah thinks she had a head start on many graduates of those programs because of the smaller classes and personal relationships developed at ACU.

"It makes learning those difficult subjects much easier," she said. "Not that the class work is easy, but the access to help from the professors is much more conducive to learning." 

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