Rachel Rothman
Ms Rachel Rothman
Director of the Engineering Lab, Good Housekeeping
New York, NY

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Close Up
  • Describe what you do in your current work situation.
    I evaluate consumer electronics, toys, video games, home improvement products, and automobiles for Good Housekeeping. I test performance metrics on products such as tablets, laptops, TVs, fuel-efficient cars, smartphones, and toilets - for both inclusion editorially in the magazine, as well as for the prestigious Good Housekeeping Seal.
  • Why did you choose engineering?
    I have always been a math and science aficionada. I much preferred building with Legos than Barbies, and nothing calms me down better than a fiendish game of Sudoku or Kakuro! And since I loved building things with my own two hands, it seemed fitting to study the practical application of the sciences.
  • Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    I attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and received a BSE in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and a minor in Mathematics.
  • What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    The great thing about my job is that the day to day never becomes rote - there is no "typical." One week I am testing the latest tablets on the market - the next I'm behind the wheel of the latest electric vehicle. I get to perform mundane tests like timing the boot-up of a laptop, but also fun tests like dropping toys from the drop tester and abrading paint chips to test durability. I also have the opportunity to step outside the normal confines of engineering and be a part of photo and video shoots.
  • What do you like best about being an engineer?
    My favorite part about being an engineer is being around other stimulating engineers. As an engineer, you take in your environment in a way that another wouldn't - with a keen eye for construction and innovation.
  • Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    Engineers often get the bad reputation of being socially awkward (OK, sometimes we can be!) - so appearing on live TV on MSN was really a career high for me.
  • What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    The first engineering class I went in to, the professor came up to me trying to be nice and said he would help direct me to my proper classroom. While inroads have definitely been made for women in engineering, there are still hurdles. I have fought hard to be respected in the male-dominated field of engineering and tech- something that time and experience will help strengthen.
  • Please tell us a little about your family.
    Even if I had known about this job growing up, I couldn't have been better prepped. My family operates a consumer electronics distribution business, and dinner talk frequently consisted of 20-30 SKUs being shouted across the table! I come from the most loving and supporting family, and because of them I am able to be the professional I am today. My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were all ahead of their time, and I can only hope to be a trailblazer as they were for the women of their generations.
  • What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
    While it sounds cliche - my mother and grandmother are my greatest influences. My mom is definitely right-brained, and having a daughter pursue engineering may have baffled her at first, but she was nothing but supportive.
    Biography
    As Director of the Engineering Lab, she evaluates products that come through the Consumer Electronics and Engineering Department for editorial consideration, advertising clearance (to make sure products live up to their claims), and GH Seal eligibility. Before coming to GHRI, Rachel studied mechanical engineering, applied mechanics, and mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania. Her love for gadgets developed at a young age: She grew up in a family that operated a consumer electronics business. Every day is a new, exciting challenge for Rachel. Thus far, she has had the opportunity to evaluate hundreds of products, including toys for GHRI's annual Toy Awards, crossovers with Car and Driver, and innovative appliances such as Samsung's gesture controlled TV. Be sure to check out her @GadgetGirl Twitter feed for the latest on her testing and tech news. Outside of work, Rachel enjoys both watching and playing sports and is part of a soccer team that plays in various locations around Manhattan.
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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 host a field trip to my place of employment.
    Latest Questions
    • Rosemaricel, Midwest City asked Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping

      Added Friday, January 15, 2016 at 11:12 AM

      How important is writing in your work and how important was is to get the job you have now?
      Related to Internships & Jobs
      Answers 1
      Xiaoyun Yang, Naval Reactors
      Answered Friday, January 15, 2016 at 11:12 AM
      Hi Rosemaricel,
      
      I work at Naval Reactors, which designs, support, and maintain reactor systems that go into power submarines and aircraft carriers. writing, reading, and talking to people is about 99% of what I do. We have a huge cross-organizational ...
      Read More
    • Jazlynn, Pittsburg, KS asked Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping

      Added Monday, November 18, 2013 at 12:06 AM

      I just stumbled upon this website by happenstance, and I browsed the women on here until I found one with the same type of engineering that I was going into. I read your interview, and it sounds just like my life. I just wanted to thank you for unintentionally letting me know that I am on the right track. So, thank you very much. An aspiring mechanical engineer, Jazlynn
      Related to Mechanical
      Answers 1
      Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping
      Answered Monday, November 18, 2013 at 12:06 AM

      Thanks Jazlynn! My main incentive for joining this site was to help inspire and steer young women into the STEM professions and validate such as a viable, fun option. Thank you for your kind note, and reassuring me of my cause. Best of luck in future ...

      Read More
    • Alex, USA

      Added Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      I have a master's degree in mechanical engineering, but I'm absolutely horrible at math, and I'm just starting to look for my first non-internship job and I'm panicking because I feel like I'm not good enough to be an engineer, even though I graduated with a 3.9GPA and got A's in every math class. I got good grades because I opted to have no social life and had to work harder than everyone else in my classes. I am thinking about ways I can use my degree without doing engineering because I worry ...
      Answers 1
      Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping
      Answered Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      Hi Alex, The great thing about Mechanical Engineering is that you aren't pigeon-holed into one particular industry or field when you graduate. The options are literally endless. So finance may not exactly be the best option for you, but there are ...

      Read More
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