Q.As a two-sport standout at Western New England, what was the most memorable
moment of your collegiate athletic career?
A.I didn’t know it at the time, but being put into a different position my freshmen year
for volleyball was a defining moment. Being
challenged and forced to really work at it set
me up for all the success I have had on the court.
It is so rewarding to look back on all of the
growing pains and struggles I had to overcome
to get where I am today.
Q.You excelled on the playing field/court and in the classroom, what drives you
to be a high achiever?
A.Looking towards the next step has always driven me. My dad’s favorite line to tell me
every day is, “Think of your future!” While he
says it to be funny, I truly do love to plan ahead
and dream big. I know that putting in the hard
work on the playing field and in the classroom
is always worth it in the long run and keeping
the end in mind serves as my motivation.
Q.What was the best part of being a woman student-athlete at Western
New England University?
A.The best part is being able to leave my mark on the athletics family just
as my predecessors have. In my four years,
I have been inspired by the other strong and
successful female athletes around me. I can
only hope that I’ve left a positive impact on
the athletics community and served as a role
model for other young athletes.
Q.How have your experiences as an athlete prepared you to be a leader as you enter
the business world?
A.Being an athlete carries over into everything that I do, and it has shaped
me into the person I am today. Leadership, hard
work, and determination are skills that I have
developed during my career that have prepared
me for success after college. As an athlete you
deal with failure on an everyday basis, but how
you respond to failure on the court and in life
will set you apart from the rest. n
Q.You have received grant funding from the Kern Foundation for developing
curriculum that helps our engineering
students cultivate an entrepreneurial
mindset. Why is that so important in the
study of engineering even for students who
may not become entrepreneurs?
A.Developing an entrepreneurial mindset means that you develop broad thinking
outside just technical material so that you can
identify new challenges and opportunities,
whether or not you are an entrepreneur. This
mindset will enhance all facets of your career
and the company by teaching you to think
globally, which is applicable whether you are
starting your own business, trying to succeed
in industry, or trying to lead a team.
A.I am most proud of having two very successful careers and being able
Q.What are the misconceptions about he term “Industrial” Engineering,
to make the switch between very distinct
professions. After having been involved in
construction project/program management
for 12 years, I pursued my Ph.D. in a slightly
different area and have used that to get to
where I am today. Being successful in the
classroom and academia in general has
been very rewarding and makes me proud
that I could accomplish it. The students
inspire me each day to perform my best
both in the classroom and out and are a
true motivational tool to stay on top of my
and why is it an exciting time for women
in particular to be involved in this field?
A.Probably the most common misinterpretation of Industrial
Engineering is that we work strictly on
manufacturing floors, when in fact, the tools
we teach IEs are applicable and utilized in
every type of industry. For example, virtually
every hospital today has at least one IE on
staff, which opens up new avenues and
opportunities for all IEs. In particular, for
women, it opens up more nontraditional
avenues of practicing the profession and
generates broader job opportunities.
Considered one of the top student-athletes in school history, Grace
Kucharski was a standout member of
the volleyball team, a softball player,
and Skookum Award recipient. She
graduated this May with a B.S.B.A.
in Management and Leadership and
a minor in Enterprise Resource
Planning with a Certificate in SAP.
Grace interned at Disney World®
and was active on campus—from
service as an admissions associate to
a Champs/Life Skills mentor. She has
been recognized by the University,
including the Board of Trustees, with
awards for leadership and high
academics while compiling a school
volleyball record of 2,118 digs—ninth
all-time in New England and first in her
conference. She was a four-time All-CCC honoree and twice a First-Team
pick her last two seasons.
Grace is continuing her education
at the University of Central Florida in
the M.S. in Hospitality Management