Sharon Waxmonsky: Improving people's lives with Quality Engineering

August 2015

A former leader within the Women in Engineering Program at Penn State, Sharon Waxmonsky ('12 BIOE) now focuses her engineering talents towards her career with Johnson & Johnson.

As a high school student from Shelby Township, MI, Sharon learned about the opportunity to visit Penn State and participate in the Women in Engineering Program Summer Camp. Upon visiting University Park for the first time, Sharon, like many Penn Staters before her, fell in love with the campus and concluded the event insisting to her parents that she would one day return as an undergraduate student.

Sharon successfully achieved her goal and commenced her Penn State undergraduate journey by participating in another engineering event, the Women in Engineering Program Orientation (WEPO). Later in her Penn State career, Sharon served this organization as a mentor, rover, and spirit lead.

In considering the many options within engineering, Sharon recalls the workshop that persuaded her to choose bioengineering, led by the late Professor Nadine Barrie Smith. "They taught us how to hook up a circuit board to a heart monitor. It was really cool."

As a senior at Penn State, Sharon received an award in Professor Smith's honor recognizing her outstanding achievement as a female undergraduate student, as well as her devotion to mentoring other female students through her involvement with WEPO and Phi Sigma Rho, a social sorority for women engineers.

After graduation, she participated in the Johnson & Johnson Global Operations Leadership Development (GOLD) Program, a highly selective two and a half year-long rotational experience that aims to accelerate leadership development within the company's supply chain enterprise.

Sharon describes the biomedical engineering career path as "feel-good" and "a way to improve people's lives." These motivators resonated as she embarked upon her career with Johnson & Johnson. Through the GOLD Program, Sharon worked in three separate roles across the country, living in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. Throughout those two years, she enhanced skills such as product planning and supervising, working with products varying from knee implants and pharmaceuticals to sutures. She explains that each new rotation "challenged me to learn something completely different."

Continuing with Johnson & Johnson, Sharon currently resides in Bridgewater, NJ, as a senior supplier quality engineer. Her responsibilities include managing a technical assessment program for suppliers and developing a supplier academy.

Sharon believes that "engineering is what you make it," adding that it is "diverse and flexible." Looking back on her experiences at Penn State, she credits the University with providing her the fundamental engineering tools, diverse perspectives, and soft skills necessary to be successful in her career.

--Mary Beth Spang

sharon waxmonsky