Global R&D Process Technology Engineer, Victaulic
At age 27, Hilary Schmidt is already well on her way into a career as a well-respected engineer in an often male-dominated field, and Lehigh Valley helped make it happen.
Schmidt works as a global R&D process technology engineer with Victaulic, a Lehigh Valley-based manufacturer of mechanical pipe joining solutions. She first interned at the company while attending college at Lafayette College in Easton.
Now, she’s not only working at the company, but she’s serving as a mentor for young women pursuing careers in STEM and manufacturing fields. Through her role at Victaulic, Schmidt talks to students ranging from fifth grade to high school about the possibilities within her career field, including those available right here in Lehigh Valley.
“One of the things that I like most about the Lehigh Valley is the outreach that I’ve been a part of,” she said. “It’s very empowering to be talking to these students, and I wish I had had something like that when I was their age. I think that having a female engineer stand up and speak in front of a class of elementary schoolers can be really important to the students and hopefully inspiring to young females interested in STEM.”
Schmidt’s days are never the same in the Lehigh Valley, and that’s just the way she likes it. Victaulic is a regional company with a global reach, with foundries all around the world, from China to Poland. Schmidt travels regularly as a result; she has repeatedly visited the company’s Mexico plant, working on different designs and processes.
But it’s here in Lehigh Valley where Schmidt often finds her most rewarding work.
“My career is made possible here,” Schmidt said. “One of my favorite aspects of my position is that my days are always different. Some days I’ll be working on 3D models, other days I’ll be completing capability studies, or performing simulations, or creating test plans. In addition to this, all my projects are on different topics, which allows me to learn about a diverse range of areas. This also makes for a job that doesn’t get boring.”
Schmidt grew up in Philadelphia before coming to Lehigh Valley for her studies. She never ventured too far off campus while attending Lafayette College, and only after graduation did she start to learn about everything the region had to offer.
“The Lehigh Valley has a lot of different areas,” Schmidt said. “It has downtown Bethlehem, which is really good for when I want to go out to dinner or go shopping. But it also has areas that are a little more serene, with trails along the river that are very picturesque.”
Hilary made it happen. Lehigh Valley made it possible.
Live like a local:
Favorite dessert spot: Bella’s Ristorante in Hellertown has really good desserts
Favorite low-key drink spot: Lost Tavern Brewing in Hellertown.
Favorite outdoor activity: There are also a lot of trails in the Lehigh Valley. There is this bike trail that conveniently ends up close to where Giant is, so sometimes I’ll bike just to go grocery shopping. That same bike trail will take me to the farmer’s market every Sunday.
Anything you’d like someone who is considering the region to know: I feel like every time I look around, there’s a new place there that they’re just putting up, or even new places that I didn’t discover.