May 9, 2024

FMU graduate Laney Rodgers forges her own path in industrial engineering

Lexington, SC native Laney Rodgers has carved out her own path at Francis Marion University. Inspired by her father and grandfather, Rodgers chose industrial engineering as her major from the start of her college career. She chose FMU because of the engineering industry’s presence in the Pee Dee area—which she believed would make it easier to make professional connections while still in college. And that’s exactly what she did. 

Rodgers’ student internship at Dixie’s manufacturing site in Darlington has now led to her accepting a full-time job there as a project engineer. Rodgers is happy to land in a familiar place that, to her, has the same quality that drew her to Francis Marion: a homey environment.

Rodgers says the key to creating your own home at FMU is to get involved. 

“If I were to give advice to someone coming to FMU, I would say get involved. Do all the things, so that you can see what you like and what you don’t like.” 

Joining Greek Life was a transformative experience for Rodgers. She became the president of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, as well as the secretary of FMU’s National Panhellenic Council, for which she did marketing and social media.

“The only thing I would change about my FMU experience would be to join Greek Life sooner!” Rodgers says. “At first, I was all about just working hard and studying. But I realized I can actually have fun here, I can have a community here, I can get more from my college experience than just academics.”

Rodgers also participated in Homecoming Court and the Ms. FMU pageant, which later led to her participation in the Miss South Carolina pageant. All of her experiences with FMU Student Life allowed her to make more friends and build skills that translated to her academic career.

“Before I came to FMU, I was very shy and quiet,” Rodgers says. “But once I got here, I got involved in a lot of activities. Being involved helped me build the confidence I needed to be a successful woman in STEM.”

One person Rodgers looks up to in her field of study was professor of physics Dr. Ginger Bryngelson.  

“I really look up to Dr. Bryngelson as a woman in STEM,” Rodgers says. “She is all around so sweet, and she is interested in what students achieve outside the classroom as well. She’s interested in our clubs and supports us being well-rounded students.”

Rodgers also gained a lot from her experience working as a lab technician for Bryngelson, where she assisted professors in lower level physics classes by helping students during lab sessions.

“That experience taught me a lot,” Rodgers says. “It helped me have a better relationship with professors, and it also felt good to know the material well enough to help others.” 

While Rodgers is thrilled to take her expertise to the real world as she begins her next chapter, she describes the conclusion of her time as an FMU student as “bittersweet.”

“Francis Marion feels like family,” Rodgers says. “It feels like home to me.”