May 29, 2023

Meet Rocket Scientist Turned Cummins Trailblazer Shannon

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Shannon came to Cummins Inc. a little over 10 years ago from the Aerospace and Defense Industry. “I worked at a solid rocket motor manufacturer, so literally every day, what I did was considered rocket science.” Shannon has her PhD in Chemical Engineering, and she currently serves at Cummins as Technical Advisor for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

“My main role is as a CFD analyst working on projects across the business units, mostly spark-ignited engines. Also, some of the diesel engine projects, it really depends, but among other things, I do thermal management and air handling analysis.”

You would think that going from the aerospace industry to the automotive industry would be no problem for Shannon, but she tells otherwise.

“There’s the joke that everything is easier than rocket science, but our engine technology is super advanced.”

“Knowing nothing about automotive, it was challenging at first, but I soon found that my skills translated. Now, I find it really satisfying being able to tackle tough challenges and be innovative. To take an old process and make it better, faster, cheaper. Also, to take something that’s a problem and come up with a way to fix it or come up with an analysis that’s going to solve the problem without us having to break a bunch of engine parts to figure it out.”

Aside from the challenging and innovative work she does, Shannon says there are many other things that keep her engaged and happy to call Cummins home.

The way I see it, Cummins is a total package kind of employer.

“Just liking one or two aspects of a job isn’t going to keep you there long-term. The company has to offer and provide you with a lot more and Cummins does just that. We have excellent benefits. The company is extremely socially aware and active championing diversity and inclusion not only in our organization but in the communities where we all work and live as well.”

Shannon goes on to explain, “what’s more, we are always pushing the limits of technology and expanding and enhancing our product offerings. Corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability are also very important here and something I’ve been able to be involved with over the 10 years that I’ve been here.”

Shannon also appreciates not only being recognized for her work and achievements in the traditional way – she was just recently promoted – but also in unexpected ways. This past fall, Shannon was nominated for a 2021 Black Engineer of the Year Award as part of our LIFT initiative that recognizes employees who are making significant contributions and strives to get them recognized outside of the common sphere.

It was nationwide and very exciting. I ended up winning the Science Spectrum Trailblazer Award.

“Cummins didn’t have to do that. They made it all happen. I didn’t just win the award because of the things I’ve been doing here. Cummins dug into my background and noted all the things I did and achieved at my first company and the outside activities and other organizations I support, for example, my work with NSBE, the National Society of Black Engineers.”

Shannon has been an active member of NSBE since 2004 and has held various leadership roles including chapter president, regional and national pre-college initiative chair, national NSBE Professionals membership chair and regional chair for two regions. Through the organization, she also serves as a mentor to students.

I think it’s important to get as many young people as we can, especially young girls, interested in pursuing a future in STEM careers.

As for what the future holds for Shannon, she says she’s very excited. “Cummins is very good at letting people take on different roles to get to know all parts of the business. This new promotion is a big opportunity for me to grow technically working on a diverse spread of, not only engine products but also different technologies and different analysis types.

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Cummins develops, sells, and services diesel and natural gas engines power generation systems and engine-related component products.