Elizabeth Bierman

Elizabeth Keller Bierman

Title
Principal Systems Engineer
Organization
Honeywell Aerospace
Location
Minneapolis, MN, United States
Elizabeth Bierman
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Biography
Elizabeth Bierman is a principal systems engineer for Honeywell Aerospace in Minneapolis. She is been with Honeywell since 2003 in a variety of roles in systems engineering, customer support and program management. Previous to Honeywell, she worked for Rockwell Collins as a systems engineer in avionics. Elizabeth has a strong passion around diversity and inclusion. Elizabeth has been involved with the Society of Women Engineers since 1994, joining as a collegiate member her first week at Iowa State and continuing her membership as a professional. She served on the Board of Directors as Society Secretary and President Elect and was honored to serve as President for FY15. Elizabeth was a 2006 SWE Distinguished New Engineer Recipient. Elizabeth has a Bachelors Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Master’s in Systems Engineering from Iowa State University, and an MBA from Bentley University. Elizabeth received her program management certification (PMP) in 2007. She was inducted into the Space Camp Hall of Fame in 2015. She is married to David and has two daughters, Lauren and Avery.
  • 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 be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Elizabeth Keller Bierman

HI Abby,

Thanks for the question.  Congrats on deciding on a career in engineering!  I hope you enjoy it...for me college was very hard but worth it in the end.  In terms of going into a career at NASA, my advice would be mechanical, electrical or chemical.  I don't think you need to have an aerospace engineering degree to work there.  The core engineering disciplines are just as valuable.  So if you like Ole Miss...stay there.  No need to transfer unless you want to.  My second piece of advice is to get internships.  Easier said than done, and most places don't start engineering internships until after your second year but this will be the best exposure to the field.  And remember that there are lots of suppliers into NASA that will be able to show you the ins and outs to the industry.  

Take care,
Elizabeth

Hi Amy,  Thanks for the question.  Honestly, the possibilities are endless.  When I was your age, I wanted to be an astronaut so that is why I became an aerospace engineer and then when I was in college I learned there was so much more opportunities in engineering.  I got involved with avionics on aircraft and got hooked.  Right now I design navigation equipment for commercial aircraft.  I do have friends that work on the ISS and help train astronauts.  I met the President of Space X and they are hiring lots of engineers to build the new space landing system to take astronauts back into space and eventually Mars.  Lots of possibilities ahead...Pros of the job are everyday is different and for me to fly on a plane for a vacation or business trip and know that my equipment is on the plane getting us there safe is pretty cool.  The con is our projects are really long.  3, 4, 5 years long.  Its not like a new iPhone that comes out every year.  If you go into engineering, you will take a lot of math and physics in college before your aerospace engineering courses.  In middle school and high school, take the classes that get you ready for college and ones that interest you.  I like answering questions so don't be afraid to ask more!!  Take care,  Elizabeth

HI Andrea,
My advice is for you build a network of other women engineers so that when you do run into someone who is not embracing the benefits of diversity in the workplace you have people to turn to.  Not everyone in the workplace feels the same about different perspectives which is unfortunate...but its not worth giving up something you enjoy because of one person's opinion.  The other way to appear more serious is to have done your homework before a meeting or presentation.  Just be prepared and have the data to back you up and no one can discount you if you are prepared.  
Another article that you might be interested in is: http://fortune.com/2015/08/22/tesla-motors- ilooklikeanengine er/
its about a female engineer who embraced her femininity at work and found success.  I hope this helps.

-Elizabeth Bierman