Kristina Lawyer

Kristina Lawyer

Research engineer, Argonne National Laboratory


Dakshayani Jangamshetti
Kim Wheeler
Anastasia Venable-Nappen
Laura Halverson
Natalie Scott
Melinda Piket-May
Nita Patel
Jennifer Nakayama
Mekka Williams
Alicia Bailey
Andrea Armani
Elisabeth Drake
Close Up
  • What I Do
    I am working on my PhD in Mechanical Engineering. I am currently doing research on hybrid vehicles and a study on service learning
  • Why Engineering?
    I chose engineering because I like hands-on work, but I didn’t want to spend every day working in a shop. Engineering is a compromise between office work (reports, meetings, etc.) and laboratory work (experimentation, etc.).
  • School Days
    I graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in May '08 with a Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering. I will have my Masters in Mechanical Engineering in December '10.
  • My Day At Work
    I attend classes and conduct research in both the Mechanical Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering departments. My research is not laboratory based, so I spend most of my time in my office at my computer.
  • Best Part
    I like being able to look at a machine and figure out how it works. I now apply the problem solving skills I learned in engineering school to everything, and it allows me to understand things that I would otherwise have a hard time figuring out.
  • Proud Moments
    I am most proud of how my accomplishments as a racecar driver fit together with my career. I have the great pleasure of pursuing my passion within my career.
  • Challenges
    The biggest challenge that I have faced is proper time management. Just like any demanding career, being an engineer requires lots of time and effort. At first I didn’t think I was able to put forth the effort nor had the time to be a good engineer, but through determination and lots of help from my professors, I learned how to accomplish everything that I needed to in the time I was given.
  • My Family
    I am an only child. My parents reside in Southern Indiana with our plethora of pets. My parents and I are very close and spend lots of time together. My extended family is rather small and resides all around the country.
  • Dreams and Goals
    I would like to be an engineering professor.
  • Inspiration
    When I graduated from high school my mother bought me a ring that has "To Thine Ownself Be True" scribed on it (from Shakespeare’s Hamlet). Every day when I put it on it reminds me to trust myself. I try to make choices by knowing what would be fulfilling to me, and beneficial for society as a whole.
  • Want to be an Engineer?
    There is no reason women can’t be engineers. While it is a predominately male field, I have never been treated differently because I am a woman. If you enjoy math, science and technology, an engineering career is both personally satisfying and a great way to improve our society. If you already know that you want to be an engineer, I advise you to stay sharp in math and improve your study skills (they can never be too good).
  • Additional Thoughts
    There is no reason women can’t be engineers. While it is a predominately male field, I have never been treated differently because I am a woman.
  • Hobbies
    My hobby is drag racing. I have driven a racecar since I was 7 years old and nearly everything in my life now revolves around racing. I have been successful on an amateur level and I hope to be successful on a professional level some day.

I am currently working on my PhD research at Argonne National Laboratory. I am investigating higher carbon number alcohols in spark-ignition engines. I spend part of my time running tests on an engine dynamometer and the remainder working on data analysis, publications, and presentations.

I was recently interviewed on the YesCollege podcast and talked about my path and mechanical engineering in general — the courses required in college, what opportunities are out there, and more. Listen here!

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Volunteer Opportunities
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as a sponsor or coach for an engineering club or team.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
  • I am willing to be contacted about potential job shadowing by interested students.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.