Jodi DeWitt is a Department Manager in the Airborne Early Warning & Reconnaissance Systems at Raytheon and a 2002 graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
1. Why and when did you choose to study engineering?
I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I did what I had done my whole life, and followed my big sister, Emi. She was enrolled in the civil engineering program at UH, so that’s what I did. However, after my first year I decided to switch to electrical engineering because I thought it would be interesting to work on robotics.
2. Why did you choose UH?
I was looking for a HI/CA school with a solid engineering program, and a women’s cross country team that I could join as a “walk on.” I identified several colleges that met those requirements (i.e. UC Davis, Santa Clara University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and UH), but ultimately the decision came down to cost. UH tuition was such an incredible bargain in comparison to all of the other schools, the decision was easy. I loved being a student-athlete at UH Mānoa, competing and traveling with my teammates. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
3. Your favorite memory/experience during your undergrad career?
My sophomore year was the first time that I ever participated in a robotics competition called micro-mouse. My team didn’t win but we actually set a course record for exploring the highest percentage of the maze during the 10 min time limit. The robot we built was mechanically and electrically very accurate and efficient, however we had a fatal flaw in our software programming. I learned a big lesson that day, how a flawed algorithm or simple software error can really mess you up!
4. If you could do it all over again, what would you have done differently?
I should have developed stronger study habits in high school. I didn’t arrive at UH with disciplined study habits or time management. It took me a several semesters to realize that I had to strategically plan my weekly study hours for each and every class. Once I learned to do that, my grades improved significantly and I started to gain more confidence that I could actually do well in engineering.
5. What convinced you to choose California?
California seemed like a natural choice given the weather and active lifestyle I’d be able to enjoy year round. I’ve never done it, but technically you could surf and snowboard in the same day!
6. Of all of your achievements thus far, which is your favorite?
For me, the most rewarding part of my current job as a manager is creating opportunities for people who achieve great things. It’s an honor for me to work with such incredible talent and technology at Raytheon. Finding opportunities for us to collaborate more with universities and UH specifically is a goal of mine.