The University of Arizona

Alumni Early Career Profiles - Autumn E Carlton

Name: Autumn E Carlton
Education: B.S., Mathematics, The University of Arizona, 2001
Position: Systems Engineer
Raytheon Missile Systems
Sector: Manufacturing


My primary job responsibility is Reliability Engineering for Air-to-Air production lines. I am a Systems Engineer for the Department of Variability, Reliability, Maintainability and Safety (VRMS) at Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS). I am in my fourth year of employment at RMS and this year I expect to be promoted to the position of Senior Systems Engineer.

People often relate Reliability to Quality; however these are two very different engineering fields. If there is a relation, it would be this: Reliability is Quality integrated over time (and then some). As a reliability engineer you are not only concerned with the performance of the system today, but how it will perform (and succeed) in the years to come. A reliability engineer uses a variety of tools: Highly Accelerated Life Testing, Reliability Prediction software, Environmental Stress Screening, and Failure Investigation/ Root Cause Analysis.

There are many different types of mathematics involved in this engineering field: statistical sampling, engineering mathematics, mathematical modeling to name a few. I would also recommend upper division courses in differential equations and linear algebra for mathematics majors interested in pursuing employment in engineering fields.

Currently, I am heading up a "Design of Experiment" to test the reliability of Field Programmable Grid Array (FPGA) Plastic Encapsulated Microcircuits (PEM) that have undergone the re-solder balling manufacturing process. By taking a sample set of these microcircuits and testing the parts to failure, reliability data of the microcircuits meantime to failure and lifetime functionality will be understood.

I graduated from the University of Arizona in 2001 with a BS degree in mathematics, and minors in Philosophy, and Religious Studies. The most important skills to be learned during your university career are time management, critical thinking, logic and self-motivation. There is no "one way" to solve a problem; if there is one thing to be gained from a degree in mathematics it is this; there exist many methods to achieve the solution (utilize all your tools).

Achieving a degree in mathematics is a challenging and gratifying accomplishment, and is not for the faint of heart. You do it because you want a challenge and you want to be challenged. It demonstrates to others a strong character, stick-to-itiveness, and attention to detail.