Brandywine alumna flourishes in engineering career

Jaclyn Domsohn's internship transitioned into a full-time role at global company CTDI
A person stands next to an engineering machine.

Penn State alumna Jaclyn Domsohn earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 2021 and is now a mechanical engineer at CTDI.

Credit: Bill Tyson

MEDIA, Pa. — In high school, Jaclyn Domsohn wasn’t sure what to study in college or what type of career to pursue. She knew she enjoyed math and physics, but she hadn’t thought about engineering.

“I don’t think I was exposed to engineering as much as I feel a lot of women are now,” Domsohn said. “But engineering has a lot of math and physics. And as I started some of my first classes, I realized it's a lot of what I've always liked. I've always liked designing and building things and it kind of just clicked.”

After graduating from Coatesville Area Senior High School, Domsohn attended Penn State Brandywine and graduated summa cum laude in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. She is now a mechanical engineer in the Mobility Division of CTDI, a global company in the communications, mobility and consumer devices service industries.

Domsohn was attracted to Brandywine by the small class sizes and the hands-on experiences offered in the engineering program.

“I had a lot of exposure to different disciplines of engineering. I really loved that there was such a focus on design, because it's so applicable to what I do, and I think to almost any engineering role,” she said. “It helped create a solid foundation to constantly work through the design process and refine those skills. We had great professors who were so helpful and knowledgeable.”

I really loved that there was such a focus on design, because it's so applicable to what I do … It helped create a solid foundation to constantly work through the design process and refine those skills.

—Jaclyn Domsohn , Penn State alumna and mechanical engineer, CTDI

Part of the engineering program that stands out for Domsohn is the capstone project that she worked on with a team of students during her senior year. She said they worked with an engineering consulting company and their task was to develop a non-contact device to help prevent asphyxiation in infants by detecting if a baby is breathing.

“We ended with a working prototype that performed as we were expecting,” she said. “So that was a really, really rewarding experience to take the project from customer need to final prototype.”

Three professors who made a lasting impression on her were Ivan Esparragoza, now assistant dean for curricular innovation and program assessment in the College of Engineering; Sally Richmond, assistant teaching professor of engineering at Penn State Great Valley; and Charles Helou, professor of mathematics at Penn State Brandywine.

“I loved [Esparragoza's] passion for engineering and learning," she said. "He made those 8 a.m. early classes exciting.”

She added that she remembers Richmond for her vested interest in each student and in her role as capstone adviser. And Helou, for whom Domsohn was a teaching assistant, encouraged her to become a peer tutor in Brandywine’s STEM Lab.

“He gave me the chance to get out of my comfort zone and gain valuable experience,” she said.

Domsohn’s original plan to complete her required internship at CTDI was scuttled by the pandemic. Instead, she completed an internship with Penn State as part of a team working on a report and design concept for a land-surveying drone. Immediately after graduating, though, she was able to intern at CTDI to gain some additional skills and experiences.

“After I had graduated, I felt like I had missed out on that in-person, hands-on experience from a professional internship, so I reached out to CTDI to ask about opportunities,” she said.

During the internship, she focused on redesigning an existing system to test TV remote controls. She was given a tester along with suggested changes and improvements. She created a design change plan that included various aspects of engineering. Although the company’s manufacturing team typically builds the systems, she did part of the build herself to learn and become more familiar with it.

Domsohn said the internship, which included sessions on career exploration and resume building, was key to landing her full-time position with CTDI in August 2021. She started on a robotics team in the Mobility Division, which included designing robotic systems for testing devices.

As part of the Mobility Division, Domsohn works with a team of development engineers to design, create and build new testers for various consumer electronics, including mobile phones.

“I often work with the electrical engineers to determine what components are needed for testing the device. Then I focus on designing fixtures, motion systems and frames needed within the system,” Domsohn said.

“I really like how diverse what I work on is,” she said. “We always have new projects, different devices, new customers. And I think the best part is that it's ever-changing. It's not just the same thing over and over. We're always innovating.”

“I've worked on many projects already that have been developed, qualified and shipped out to our production,” she added. “That means it's out there. It’s having an impact, which is great. Just to see something that I've helped create go out and know that I’ve had a hand in its development feels like an accomplishment in itself.”

Domsohn said that, as a former student and now as an employee, she is impressed by the strong relationship between CTDI and Penn State Brandywine.

“It's very cool to see the connection between CTDI and Penn State, especially Penn State Brandywine, continue to grow,” she said. CTDI was one of the Penn State engineering capstone project sponsors for the 2022-23 academic year. Domsohn was able to act as a capstone mentor along with Mo Paknejad, CTDI director of engineering and a Penn State Brandywine Advisory Board member. “So that was a fun full-circle moment for me to be part of that since I had completed my own capstone two years earlier.”