Victoria Davenport

In 2001:

“Sitting inside a Boeing 747 on the runway of Richmond International Airport, all I could think about was how I was about to travel all the way across the country to attend a materials engineering camp with no one I had even met before. Little did I know that before I came back home, I was actually going to have the chance to see a Boeing 747 being constructed in a Seattle manufacturing plant with newly acquired friends. Forgetting about my nervousness for a moment, I tried to think of all the things I already knew about materials science. After thinking a few minutes, I realized that I really didn’t know very much. From that point on, I decided that I was going to open my mind up to learn all I could about the world of materials. I was in for a surprise; I never knew that everyday materials could be so interesting!

After spending a week with other students my age at the University of Washington, I felt I had learned as much as I would have as a semester in college. I learned so many new things about materials – their origins, their structures, their uses, and their failures. Ranging all the way from metallography to failure analysis scanning electron microscopes, I had been introduced to what materials engineering actually is from the most knowledgeable people not only in the United States, but in the world. I got the chance to listen to lectures, perform experiments, do failure analysis tests, and visit local companies.

From my Materials Camp experience, I realized that materials science intrigues me and that I want to pursue it in my future career. Because of my participation in Materials Camp 2001, I had the wonderful opportunity to be introduced to a new, exciting, and challenging field of science that I will be able to enjoy for the rest of my life…”

Tori was admitted to Texas A&M University College of Engineering.

In 2012:

Victoria Davenport
Senior Supplier Quality Engineer at Mentor Corp.
(a Johnson & Johnson company)
2001 Materials Camp Graduate

Early one Thursday morning on a conference call at work, I listen intently to engineers with their thick French accents from Mauritius, Dutch accents from the Netherlands, and southern accents from Texas, as they explain to me why they think we are seeing low production yields of our medical devices.  “It appears that our issues are due to some abnormal rheological characteristics of the silicone that we are using” one colleague says.  I reflect back upon my time at the Materials Camp at the University of Washington in 2001 and think about all of the helpful information that I learned about material properties.   I also think “wow, I would have never thought back then that I’d be where I am now – a Senior Supplier Quality Engineer for Johnson & Johnson medical devices… how awesome is that!”

I originally thought that at the end of the Materials Camp I would be a subject matter expert at materials but it turns out that something unexpected ended up being the most valuable.  What I gained was the ability to problem solve with a diverse group of people from all across the globe – which was exactly what we did back in 2001 and what I’m doing every day now.  Eleven years after the camp, I have graduated with honors from Texas A&M with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, completed a leadership development program with the most comprehensive health care company in the world, Johnson & Johnson, and have successfully lead teams to solve problems which ultimately provide the doctors and patients we serve with a better quality of life.  If I can help one patient gain their life and health back, I consider that success!