5 Questions with Misha Dawson


Hometown: Fayetteville, NC
Graduation Class: BSIE, 1995
Career Overview: Early in my career, I worked as an industrial engineer for Siemens Energy and Automation and Nokia Mobile Phones. For the last 18 years, I’ve worked for Raytheon in engineering and management roles. I am currently the Director of IT for Engineering Solutions in our Missile Systems business. My team is responsible for supporting the software solutions used across our engineering disciplines.

What is the single most important experience or understanding you gained in the ISE department?
The most important understanding gained in ISE was understanding how to critically think. Before college, I studied to learn the material. However, while in college, I not only studied to learn the material, I endeavored to understand how to use the material to solve real-world problems.

What is the most pressing issue facing our society that engineers should be working harder to solve?
Healthcare. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) lists health as one of its Grand Challenges. Engineers and scientists are already making great strides in this area. With advances in augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence/machine learning and other technologies, engineers are in a position to accelerate the earlier detection of diseases and the subsequent cures that will change the face of healthcare.

What are you most proud of so far in your career?
One might think I would mention any one of the professional accomplishments I’ve been blessed to achieve. However, I am most proud of the opportunities to see those I’ve officially and unofficially mentored continue to achieve in their personal careers. As a mentor, my philosophy on gaining knowledge is to get all you can and then give all you get.

If you were not in the engineering field, what would you likely be doing?
I would be a teacher or professor. After completing graduate school, I considered being an adjunct professor. When I retire from my current profession, teaching is something I might consider doing.

What advice do you have for current ISE students?
I would advise current ISE students to embrace every aspect of their college experience. Being the best possible student is important. However, making relationships is also key. Building authentic relationships with other college students today yields meaningful friendships with other successful professionals tomorrow.