by RACHEL SLUSS | REPORTER
Aurora -- MaryBeth Pavlick said she wouldn't change a thing about her past four years at Purdue University.
In balancing her role as an NCAA athlete with earning a degree in material science and engineering, the Aurora High School graduate departed Purdue with much success.
Pavlick graduated May 18 and started her position at Owens Corning as a manufacturing engineer shortly after. Even though she stayed busy traveling the nation as bullpen catcher for the Boilermakers, she excelled even further in her studies.
"I actually accepted a job with them [Owens Corning] after my internship last summer," Pavlick explained. "I started my senior year knowing I'd have a job when I graduated. It was a stressful thing that was done early. It definitely made my senior year more enjoyable."
She and three other material science and engineering majors were the undergraduate winners of the Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition for what began as their senior design project.
"We really weren't sure what to expect with that competition," Pavlick said. "We were kind of a guinea pig group for MSE senior design to have a business component in the senior design project.
"Usually, it's only technical. We really didn't know how we measured up with the other groups. We weren't sure how we were matching up with other business students and people who have actually had classes on the subject. When we won, we were kind of shocked, and it was just really exciting."
Pavlick worked with three other material science and engineering majors on developing a safe, efficient and inexpensive method for removing the remaining material from aluminum extrusion dies. Industries currently use an expensive and hazardous chemical process.
Pavlick's group -- ExDie Cleaning Technologies -- was awarded the first prize in the black division for undergraduates, plus $20,000. The group also received one free registration in the 2014 AMP certificate program.
It is developing the technology and will decide at the end of summer whether it should be patented or commercialized.
"It's a shock that four engineers could outdo all the kids in the business school with putting together both the invention and then the business plan short and long-term," MaryBeth's father Dave Pavlick said.
PAVLICK SAID her high school teachers recommended she look into engineering because she was interested in the sciences. However, she said softball inspired her to pursue a career in material engineering.
"I was watching the College World Series on TV when I was in high school, and they did a player profile on a Georgia Tech player who was a materials engineer," Pavlick said.
"She wanted to design softball bats as a profession, and I thought that was pretty awesome. I thought that was something I'd be interested in doing so I started researching what material science engineering was all about and thought it was a perfect fit for me."
Pavlick's teammates and coaches appreciated her role on the Boilermakers. She won the Unsung Hero Award four years in a row. Those who receive the award can be described as dedicated, selfless and might put in work that goes unnoticed.
In 2012, she was awarded the Ben Korschot Perseverance Award for athletes who start as walk-ons, go on to earn a scholarship and have an impact on their team.
The Boilermakers' season ended in early May. Pavlick is not certain she will have the opportunity to coach or play softball in her current location, but said some co-workers might organize tournaments.
"I absolutely love Purdue -- the people there and the area around it, and especially my professors and my coaches and my teammates," Pavlick said.
"They've all been great, and I've made a lot of great friends at Purdue and a lot of great memories that will last forever. It's very sweet graduating, and I'm sure I'll take any excuse I can to get back there whenever I have a chance."
Pavlick is currently concentrating on her position at Owens Corning, and continues to work on ExDie's technology in hopes of making improvements within the industry.
"Like any parent, when their kid graduates from college and gets their first job there's a sense of relief that you must have done something right," Dave Pavlick said.
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