Sooner or later, we all experiences setbacks of one kind or another. However, the way we deal with failure is what determines our character. Alumni Danielle Jacobson ‘12, considers failure to be an opportunity from which she can learn and prepare for the future.
Initially beginning her career at Lockheed Martin as a Mechanical Engineering: Mechanisms co-op, Danielle will be entering her eleventh year working there in March of 2021. She exclaims, “I have the coolest job ever.” Recently, she was promoted to a level 6 Senior Manager position, an unprecedented achievement for a person of her age.
As a 16-year-old working a retail job and taking classes at a college in her hometown near Boston, Massachusetts, Jacobson decided that pursuing an engineering degree could help accomplish her goals. She chose Drexel because she had visited Philadelphia previously and felt that it was close enough to home, but also far enough away that she could focus on school and because she was impressed with Drexel’s reputation and co-op program. While she wasn’t familiar with Drexel prior to attending, she now says, “I tell everyone, so everyone knows about Drexel.”
Attending ASME and SWE meetings throughout her time at Drexel inspired Jacobson to envision herself as a leader. “Being at Drexel, being a part of ASME and SWE, made me figure out that I wanted to be a leader and that I could be a good leader.” While she was a student, her fellow classmates and professors acted as mentors, which aided her progression towards becoming a leader. By the time she graduated, she had served as the president of ASME and won the Charles T. Main scholarship from ASME in 2011 due to her outstanding service to the Drexel chapter. She also won Student Leader of the Year in 2012 - one of her proudest accomplishments at Drexel. This honor was a physical reminder of the person she never thought she could be, but became because she pushed herself to take on new experiences.
Throughout her career, Jacobson has always strived for what she wanted. She did two out of her three co-ops at Lockheed Martin. She worked in the Mechanism group that was responsible for building all of the hinges, motors, and anything that moved on the GPS III, SBIRS, Orion, and Lucy, satellites. After the Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems location shut down in Pennsylvania, she was able to continue her work on military satellites in Colorado. It is evident how much Jacobson enjoyed her work at Lockheed: “The reason I get up every morning is because I know I’m helping someone spend the holidays with their family.” Currently, she manages advanced manufacturing as a senior manager and is responsible for 3D printing flight parts, tooling, and ground support. In the future, she hopes to become a VP and eventually go into teaching.
Her advice to her fellow alumni would be to “Embrace the relationships you’ve made. Get involved with various organizations like ASME. I am still involved with ASME. They are great resources. Don’t let a bump in the road hold you back. Keep pushing forward even if it’s only a half step forward because progress is still progress. Leverage your network. Stay involved with your local community and give back, so that when you look back on your life you can be proud of what you did. Every day is a new day and it’s a chance for a new opportunity.” To current students Jacobson advises, “Don’t let your background or what you’re used to or what you think your limitations are drive what you try to achieve.” If it excites you and scares you then Jacobson recommends that you try it. Give it a shot if you have even the slightest interest because if you’re not trying then that means you aren’t working hard enough.
In addition to her BSME, Jacobson holds MS degrees in mechanical engineering and engineering management from the University of Colorado. Also an accomplished hiker, she has successfully summited all 58 of Colorado’s 14ers.