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Jennifer Thuss, B.Eng. '10

(Materials Engineering) | Understanding What Went Wrong

Often, our failures teach us as much as our successes do.

And that’s the entire philosophy behind Jennifer Thuss’s job. As a Failure Analyst with aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt and Whitney, Thuss conducts metallurgical investigations of engine hardware to understand the root causes of failure.

The failure may have occurred while in service, or during development, but in either case, undertaking a detailed laboratory analysis of the cause provides valuable lessons for future product development and maintenance.

“Very early on during my studies at Mac, I had a vision of working in the aerospace industry,” says the 2010 Materials Science & Engineering graduate. “I didn't know exactly what type of job I envisioned, but I found the industry extremely interesting.

“The hands-on technical course work that I completed during my degree is actually quite applicable to what I do on a daily basis. Also, the teamwork and professional skills that I developed are essential to working in multi-disciplinary teams during the course of complex investigations.”

Employed with Pratt and Whitney in Quebec since 2012, Thuss contributed to the development of a Non-Destructive Testing tool that allows for the inspection of an airplane engine while it remains installed.

“This tool significantly reduces cost and downtime for our clients, and our team received an internal company Pioneers of Our Future award for our work in creating it,” says Thuss. 

Her advice to today’s students is to network as much as possible.

“Attending networking events, student/industry functions and reaching out to engineers within industry can be extremely beneficial in many ways.”