August 7, 2012Her job: Aerospace Engineer
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
I am an Aerospace Engineer working in the Flight Test group for the F35 Joint Strike Fighter military jet. I look at the jet engine data after a flight and make sure the temperatures and pressures inside the engine behaved normal and everything looks good. I then send my approval to the government so they know that the engine is working as expected and that they can safely move on to the next test flight.
Why did you choose engineering?
I have always loved math and science. I had a teacher in high school who was an engineer. He told me one day that I should look into engineering. I realized right away that is was the path for me. Not only do you get to learn math and science, but you get to apply what you learn to make really cool things.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah - go Cougars!
What do you like best about being an engineer?
I love the feeling when I solve a really complicated problem. I also like when people ask what I do and I say “I’m an aerospace engineer.” They are always so shocked! People don’t expect girls to go into engineering – but we can prove that the stereotypes are wrong! :-)
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
I will be honest; getting an engineering degree is a lot of work. There were many times during college that I was at school late when my friends were off doing fun things. At times I thought of switching majors to something that took less time. But I am sooooo glad I stuck with it! Finding a job that I love was really easy and I make a lot more money than most people my age. It has been such a blessing in my life
Please tell us a little about your family.
I married my best friend, Jake! He is also an engineer! We met in the Mechanical Engineering program at BYU. During all the long hours of studying for class we became best friends and we were married our senior year of college. We both worked for the same aerospace company until he decided he wanted to get a master’s degree in business. So we moved across the country so he could go to school. I was able to keep my job and telecommute from home. About a year after moving we had our baby girl, Scarlett. She is so much fun and we love her so much!
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
Once my husband finishes school and gets a job I am going to quit my job and be a stay at home mom. I know it will be a huge sacrifice (cause I really do love my job), but I want to raise and teach my children. I want to be there for them like my mom was for me. The great thing with engineering is that once my children are in school I will be able to find a part-time job. Also, there is great peace in knowing that if something were to happen I could get a job and support my family. Maybe in 10 years I’ll go back to school and get a master’s degree in engineering, but I haven’t decided yet.
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
My wonderful parents, my amazing husband, my awesome family, and God.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
Get involved! Find a club/team/group/project/mentor. Find someone who is doing something with engineering and get involved. When I was in high school I rebuilt a ’66 mustang with my dad, I raced go-karts, I made a bridge out of toothpicks, I built a fighter robot, and I was in many clubs. It helps to get some hands-on experience to see what engineering is all about. If your school doesn’t have clubs, start one! Talk with your science teacher and see if they have any ideas. Ask local engineers to come to your class and tell about their jobs.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
I love spending time with my family. I love doing crafts and scrapbooking. I really enjoy coloring and changing my hair. I love painting my nails cool designs. I spend a lot of time providing service to others through my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: mormon.org).