Elmbrook Schools alumnus named to Forbes ’30 under 30′ credits education, hard work for success
A place to prepare
Throughout high school and other experiences growing up, Konkel said she always had a natural inclination to make processes or things that they were doing more efficient – whether in student council selling dance tickets or even being a part of the volleyball team. This, she says, is a big part of what engineering is all about.
“I was always trying to do those things better,” said Konkel, “which is honestly what a lot of industrial engineering is: picking things apart, analyzing, and making things better.”
One of Konkel’s first exposures to engineering was the First Robotics club, which she joined in her junior year of high school. It was also where she first connected with GE Heathcare, since several volunteers helped with the group.
However, one of the things she considered most helpful from her education through Elmbrook Schools was the challenge that teachers brought in the classroom.
“I think Elmbrook pushes both the fundamentals or even challenges you further to the next level,” Konkel said.
While attending Purdue, she said she sat next to students who never got that same rigor, or hadn’t gotten exposed to some of the same learning experiences she had. This made her far more prepared for college coursework.
But even more than academics, Konkel said what has helped her the most in school and her career are the life concepts and soft skills she learned from organizations or teachers.
Attitude is everything
In particular, she remembers a saying from her world history teacher, Mr. Farley, that “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.”
She says she still has the paper he handed out in class with the saying.
“Something that I learned in high school is that choosing your attitude, how you react to things, is going to help you. You can’t control everything, but you can control your own attitude,” Konkel said. “Through your attitude and hard work, you can succeed and be anything you want to be.”
This folds into her advice for young people considering STEM.
“I would say, for really anyone, no matter the gender, the ethnicity, the social background, whatever it is, the thing that I have learned is it’s the hard work that you put into it that matters,” Konkel said.
She also encourages getting to know the people you work with.
“Get to know people for who they really are, and they’ll reciprocate the same,” said Konkel. “Take the time to get to know someone and build that relationship, and you’ll be successful.”