February 5, 2011Her job: Engineer/Scientist, The Boeing Company
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
I am a structural analyst and project manager in our research and development organization.
Why did you choose engineering?
I was always interested in astronomy and space when I was a kid. In high school I learned about aerospace engineering and really got interested when I learned how I could be involved in aircraft and spacecraft development. I always liked math and science, especially physics, so it was a great fit!
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
I have a B.S in Aerospace Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and a M.S. in Systems Architecture & Engineering from the University of Southern California.
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
I work in structures where most of my work is analyzing designs to help optimize them. I have also participated in testing where we'll load new structures until they break to see how strong they are. I get to work with a team of people and manage schedule and budget as a project manager.
What do you like best about being an engineer?
I love being able to work on challenging projects, particularly since we do a lot of development in my area. I also like that I can be a part of solving problems to help contribute to aircraft and space development!
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
When I was at Penn State, I was a founding sister of our chapter of Phi Sigma Rho, a sorority for women in engineering and engineering technology. I loved having a network of women with similar interests and got a lot out of the opportunity. I've continued to be involved in PSR since graduating and am currently the National President.
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to study aerospace engineering but I did not always get the most encouraging response from everyone. People would tell me it was difficult and be surprised I was interested in doing it. But I had the support of all my family and friends and loved proving to everyone else that I could be an aerospace engineer.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
Sometimes it's challenging to get through engineering, but it is well worth it when you get to do something that you love. Engineering opens a lot of opportunities and is worth the hard work!
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. While I may have strayed from that, I've decided to learn how to fly airplanes. I'm currently in pursuit of my private pilot certificate and am loving being able to fly!