Kara Cox

Kara Cox

Engineering Manager
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Kara Cox
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I graduated from Rice University in 2000 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. I spent the first 7 years of my career working on propulsion system design and testing in the military defense industry. This included jobs at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and Bell Helicopter. Although it was very exciting work I wanted to shift my career focus to engineering management. I now work as an Engineering Manager for Chevron Global Power and am overseeing all of the design and engineering development for a wind farm project in Kazakhstan. My engineering degree has taken me all over the world and prepared me for all types of new challenges!
Rice University - BS Mechanical Engineering
  • 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 science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Kara Cox

Hi TS - If you really enjoy materials science then mechanical engineering or chemical engineering are both good fits. If you like material selection process based on the structural application then I say stick with mechanical. If you are more interested in how material itself responds to outside forces such as heat or pressure then maybe chemical engineering will be of more interest. Ask your favorite professor or the the dean of engineering for advice too. I am definitely not an expert, just willing to share my opinions!

Sophia - I thnk engineering would be a great career to think about. When I was younger I loved building things too and built my first model airplane when I was 10. I also enjoyed building things out of clay and doing wood working - not typical 'girl' stuff but it's what I liked. Keep doing what you are interested in and that should guide you into the right field of study. You've got plenty of time to figure out the details!

Hi Mike! Thanks for asking the question - no it is not a sign!!!! I struggled with a few courses too but I'm really glad I stuck with it. I finished Rice with a 3.2 overall and there were definitely a few Cs in there. I found that the As become a lot more meaningful when they aren't easy to come by. The most important thing you are learning right now is the mechanics of problem solving. That analytical thinking is what future employers will look for. It isn't so important that you know the exact material properties of a structure, just that you know how to logically approach an issue and are be able to outline an approach that will get you the answers. You are clearly already doing that by asking questions like, "if I get a C does that mean I sholdn't study mechanically engineering." You are looking at the problem (a C), trying to identify the cause and understand eventual effect that might have. Hang in there!

Maria, Thank you for your question. Your health science background will absolutely be advantageous to you in your career. I would personally recommend mechanical engineering but both degrees will be highly valuable in the current job market. I believe that your science background can be applied to many areas that utilize mechanical engineering. For example, physiology and mechanical (or biomedical) engineering are fundamental to researching and designing medical devices (artificial knees, physical therapy equipment, etc.). Also, mechanical engineering is applicable to nearly everything. Most importantly, having any engineering degree signifies an applicant is disciplined in methodical, logical reasoning. You cant go wrong with either choice. Best of luck!

I highly recommend mechanical engineering, especially if you are more interested in dynamics (motions). I doubt that it is easy to be a female engineer in any industry and I think you should stick with what you find most interesting. Mechanical engineering opens you up to almost any type of engineering job. Any company that does any kind of engineering work always needs a mechanical engineer. For example, I was hired by Lockheed Martin as a mechanical engineer and went on to work as a aeronautical engineer for them. Mechanics is the basic stepping stone for all engineering disciplines. This gives you the most options for your future. Plus, if you already feel an affinity for mechanics you will find it much easier to stay with in the future when things get tougher to understand. Best of Luck! Kara Cox