When Maddy Hicks Wiles ’10 graduated from Chatham Hall, she indulged her love of travel with a gap year in the United Kingdom.
Upon returning home, she turned to her other love, engineering, to create a path forward. She earned an associate degree in engineering from Danville Community College followed by a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech. Following her studies, she accepted a position as a hybrid calibration specialist with General Motors (GM) in Michigan.
“My current project at GM is working on the propulsion system for the Hummer EV,” Wiles said. “My job is to calibrate the software that controls the electric motor and battery pack. A typical day for me in 2020 isn't so typical since I mostly work from home now. My normal duties involve taking out prototype vehicles at our test facility here in Michigan and collecting data. I am still able to do that when I need to, but I also work from home to process data and test software. My job also includes a lot of travel since we take our vehicles to many different places to test in extreme weather and terrain. It can be really fun and challenging to see what a vehicle can do in those conditions and fun to see new parts of the United States and Canada!”
In addition to her work at GM, Wiles is currently halfway through a master’s degree in mechatronics from Oakland University and in her spare time enjoys reading, baking, hiking, and traveling. She credits Chatham Hall with giving her four years to “dabble in a lot of different activities,” including Panache and the swimming team, so that she could explore and learn more about her own passions.
“Chatham Hall was such a great learning experience for me,” she said. “It really instilled a sense of self-worth and confidence that I don't think I would've had otherwise. I felt more prepared for the world after graduation. I also still maintain contact with many of my classmates and have lifelong friendships with them for which I am so thankful.”
The Chatham Hall faculty, in particular, Wiles credits for helping her find her path.
“It is impossible for me to single out a faculty member because so many amazing people impacted my life,” she said. “I maintain regular contact with my wonderful advisors Ms. Jago and Mr. Ankrom. Mr. Wood, Mr. Tyburski, Mrs. Haymes, and Mrs. Thomas inspired me to go into engineering and gave me the foundational knowledge to succeed. I cannot say enough about the wonderfully supportive faculty at Chatham Hall.”
An all girls boarding and day school in Southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers Advanced Placement courses, global study and travel, as well as project based learning. Our athletic teams regularly compete at the State level and our exceptional riding program is nationally recognized. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.