Marian engineers a great alum

Qwynn Watts

Coming out of Marian as an ’01 graduate, Sarah Shay Gudeman grew a passion for engineering, a path she never thought she was going to take when she started high school. Throughout her years at Marian she participated in many different extracurriculars, including softball, Science Club, Art Club, Operation Others, TARs and Mu Alpha Theta. “Ironically, I did not participate in the SAME Architectural and Engineering club…which I have now mentored as a professional,” Gudeman said. She even admits to not knowing what engineering was before her physics class with past Marian teacher Mr. Bruce Esser.

As her Marian years came to a close, Gudeman was still unsure major she wanted to choose because of all of her interests. “I’m thankful that my parents and teachers encouraged me to look into engineering. It’s a great career, which allows me to still be creative, both professionally and personally,” Gudeman said. As for choosing the college that was the best fit for her, she visited University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL), University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), Kansas State University (K-State), Kansas University (KU), and Iowa State. Ultimately she chose Iowa State because it felt right from her first visit. After extensive thought, she decided on Mechanical Engineering. Throughout her college experience, her passion for her work never faltered, even through the intense engineering class schedule. As she prepared to set out into the workforce, she had no problems, “…as Iowa State has really great career counseling and placement services. Iowa State hosts one of the largest engineering career fairs in the country. I found both of my internships through school: Caterpillar in Peoria and Mid-American Energy in Des Moines,” Gudeman said.


After college, she received several job offers, and ultimately, she decided to start her career at Alvine Engineering based in Omaha. “The transition from school to work is certainly an interesting one, as you ultimately do not learn all the things you need to know for work and school,” she said, which was proved when she decided to change her path to Morrissey Engineering two years later.

While working there, she was given the opportunity to join the team that was working on Marian’s construction project coordinated by Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture Firm. “…I was ultimately responsible for the design of the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems), working closely with the architectural design team and other engineering disciplines collaboratively,” Gudeman said. She also performs construction administration, which are “job site visits to resolve issues and questions with the contractors in the field.” She loved being able to come back to the place that gave her the confidence to become who she is today; to help Marian do the same for others is an amazing opportunity. “Coming from an all-girls, catholic high school to a college major encompassed 95 percent male, at the time, was an easy switch,” Gudeman said.

As for the future, she ultimately wants to make a positive impact on the engineering industry through energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality for all the projects she is able to influence.  

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