August 28, 2007Her job: Systems Engineer, Boeing Satellite Systems International
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
I help design, build, test, and manufacture Spacecraft that are used for Commercial purposes, such as satellites that provide direct-to-home television, satellite radio, satellite internet and cell phone service, and also on spacecraft that are used for Civil purposes, such as weather satellites for NASA or GPS satellites for the Air Force.
Why did you choose engineering?
I chose to be an engineer because I wanted to make things that would help society. I chose to go into the aerospace field because so many of today's technologies that have changed the way we live have been made possible because of space research, such as batteries, microwaves, computers, and fuel cells.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
I received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California, and I am now finishing a Masters of Science in System Engineering from Loyola Marymount University.
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
A lot of my career as an engineer has been spent working on the Spacecraft Factory Floor; running tests on satellites to ensure that all of the sensors and mechanisms work properly together before we launch the satellite into space. I have also spent time developing software to test and simulate various functions of the spacecraft.
What do you like best about being an engineer?
Engineers make huge positive impacts on our society. We develop the latest technology that links, protects and transforms our world.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
I am proudest of working on products that make a difference in our day to day lives. I'm proud to be able to work on weather satellites that track earth's weather and can provide search and rescue capability and severe weather storm warnings. I'm also proud to be able to work on satellites that help to provide homeland security and communications for our soldiers.
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
Going to college can be expensive. While I was in engineering school I had to work to cover my expenses and it was often hard to go to class for most of the day, then go to work, and then come home and study most of the night and get up early to do it again the next day. I recommend eating well and exercising regularly.
Please tell us a little about your family.
I am an only child and I grew up in Eugene, Oregon. Both of my parents are now retired, but when I was growing up my mother was an artist and my father was a mechanic. I now live in Los Angeles, California.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
I would like to travel the world and better understand how business is done in other countries, so my near term goals are to take on an international assignment. My long term goals are to lead a team of highly innovative people to accomplish something unprecedented in aerospace history, such as find a way to use nuclear propulsion to get us to Mars in a short amount of time.
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
In life, I always try to follow my passions and values and continuously challenge myself... if I do all of those things I've found I always end up having fun and surrounding myself with people who do the same.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
If you enjoy challenging yourself or solving problems and are looking for a career that can make a difference in the world, engineering is definitely a rewarding choice. There is a shortage of engineers in the world, and your skills will always be needed. In addition, if you decide to change careers later in life, Engineering is a good background to have because it teaches you how to be creative and solve problems. Many doctors, lawyers, politicians, and CEOs have degrees in engineering.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
I enjoy traveling, snowboarding, camping, beach volleyball, and spending time with my friends.