Jenni Glauser

Jenni Glauser

Aerospace Engineer
Pratt & Whitney
Canton, MI, United States
Jenni Glauser
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I'm currently a full-time stay at home mom which I LOVE. I really enjoyed my time in the engineering world and I look forward to stepping back in the workforce when our children are older. ***ENGINEERING BACKGROUND*** Systems Analysis & Validation Engineer, Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford, CT, July 2008-June 2012. 2009 Dodge Ram Vehicle Development Engineering Intern, DaimlerChrysler, Detroit, MI, May 2007-Aug 2007. Designer and Driver for Formula SAE (FSAE) Racing Design Competition, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, Aug 2004-June 2008. ***PERSONAL INFORMATION*** 2008: Married my best friend! (who I met in our ME classes!) 2011: Had a baby girl! 2013: Had identical twin girls!!
BS in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University (2008)
  • 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 Jenni Glauser

In the jet engine industry you could become a FADEC designer (full authority digital engine control).  The FADEC is the brain of the engine and it has to be redundant and perfect to keep people safe in the air. 

With new autonomous aircraft, the entire plane is controlled by software!  

There are so many new and exciting things happening in aviation for software engineers.  I don't have first hand experience.  My advice would be to contact a local company and see if you can set up an "informational interview" with a software engineer to learn more.  Or contact someone through your school's alumni organization that is working in that industry to gain a connection.

Try taking classes about aircraft engineering.  Understanding the jet engine or mechanics of the plane will help you become a better designer.  

Also, look into the industry standard software programs and make sure you are comfortable with the coding language they use.  In my career we used a program called NPSS which was built on a C++ platform.

Best of luck!

I used to work on jet engines.  It was fun, but very hard.  You have to make sure it is super safe so it can fly in the air.  I used to work in a large engineering building with 10000 people.  

I graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2008.

Hi,I'm 20 years old, and I've already graduated from college--in a very non-engineering related field. Because I wanted to study religion and theology in my first few years out of high school, I currently hold a BA in Liberal Arts. I am now employed as a teacher in my hometown (the school I went through), and I teach middle school English and Biology as well as a high school math. As you can see, my interests and skills are very diverse, but my passion is math. Until recently I had decided to further my education by pursuing a graduate degree in math education, and I started taking calculus at a local program. I love problem-solving, using my spatial skills, and immersing myself in real-life applications of numbers, and I have recently been seeing myself over and over using my problem-solving skills to help those around me. I began wondering if I should switch fields and take the plunge to become an engineer ( a shocking thought for me to even consider! I wanted to be a teacher my whole life! Me-an engineer?)? However, I am not sure how to even start because I have basically no physics background (the last and only physics class I ever took was in 8th grade in conceptual physics) and a pretty weak math and science college background (I was a Liberal Arts major so I took the required Biology without a lab and I CLEPed college math). I'm not even sure where to start if I decide to really change careers and enter the engineering field. Additionally, I hope to one day become a mother, and your writing has shown me that the two don't really seem that compatible. 1) Where would a good place to start if I decide to switch careers? 2)Would I need to go back to college and start from scratch to earn a 4-year degree?3) Do you think that a mother could also work as an engineer at the same time?4) Is there such a thing as a part-time job as an engineer (not 9-5)?Thanks so much!

Hi Adina!

It sounds like you have many talents!  It’s great to be so versatile – it makes for a great engineer as well as a great mom!

Most of these questions could be best answered by a college counselor.  They are trained to help you find the right education for your goals.  But there are a few thoughts that come to my mind...

First, you need to figure out what type of engineering field you would like to work in.  If you want to live close to home or anywhere specific, you might want to research what jobs are available in that area.  My husband and I had to move away from our home state because there were not a lot of mechanical engineering companies in that area.  
Once you’ve decided on a career that sounds truly exciting to you, try to talk to someone who has that job.  See if their company is flexible.  The ability to work part-time or other flex arrangements are dependent on the company you choose to work for, not the career itself.  Many engineering companies are trying to appeal to the younger generation and offer flex work-life balance arrangements.  But on the other hand, many of them are “traditional” and “old fashioned” in their methods and shy away from providing those opportunities. 

By talking to an engineer that has your dream job you can find out more about what they require as far as education.  Try networking through Facebook or LinkedIn.  Chances are a friend of a friend knows someone whose aunt does that for a living and they can get you her email address.  You can also try calling your dream job company’s human resources department and setting up an “informational interview” with someone in the hiring group to ask them what type of degrees they will consider hiring for that job.
Not all engineering is heavy in physics, but I imagine most of them require a little.  It seems like you have a bright mind and you’re a hard worker so you’ll be able to pick it up.  But you might have to start from the beginning – which will take a few extra semesters.  Again, a college counselor could help in discussing what classes to start with.  You might even ask if you can sit in a few lectures or audit the class this semester before signing up for school just to listen and see if it’s interesting to you.  Many universities will have an “intro to Mechanical Engineering” type class that gives a broad overview of the field and has guest lecturers come talk about their careers.  Mine was only a 0.5 credit and was helpful in deciding that I really was choosing the right field.

Another option to consider is pursuing your advanced degree in Mathematics then working for an engineering company as the math specialist.  Not all of them hire math majors, but many do.  Again, finding out what you want to do and talking to those companies would be a great way to figure this out.  Math is a powerful tool and can be used to solve many problems (have you ever seen Numb3ers? – what a fun math tv show!)  It is something that you are already good at and any major problem solving will required someone with clever math skills to help.  Often big projects at my previous company required engineers, software writers, math people, business/finance people, creative design people, and others to come together to find the best solution.

And another option is to continue with teaching, but start STEM clubs and projects for your students.  The reason I went into engineering is because my high school physics teacher made us do real engineering problems in his class (concrete canoe, robot wars, toothpick bridge, etc) and I loved it!  I think that we need educators, like you, who are willing to spark that interest in STEM in the younger female generations.  You are in a position to influence so many young minds and help them see their own potential.  I think teachers are amazing!  There are many national organizations that provide help in starting local club chapters at your school, like SWE, First Robotics, and many more ( Organizations.aspx).  You don’t need to know everything at the beginning.  Just be willing to learn with your students.

Lastly, I’m sorry if my previous posts on this site made you feel that motherhood and engineering are two independent experiences.  I worked before having kids, while pregnant, and for a year after my first daughter was born.  It all depends on the company you are working for (flex options) and what your personal goals are.  Those goals can change as your life changes too.  I NEVER thought I would be a stay at home mom, I also NEVER thought I would have 3 kids under the age of 3 – but life’s crazy like that!  ;-)  Engineering has been a wonderful choice for me, even though I’m not in the work force right now, I find my critical thinking, analysis, and problem solving skills come in handy every day!  There are many wonderful engineers that balance motherhood and working beautifully.  I was blessed to work alongside many of those women.  It was hard (most things worthwhile are), but they made it happen!  When the time comes I’m confident that you’ll be able to (with the Lord) make the right decision for you and your family.

I’m sorry if these are not the definitive answers you were looking for.  These big life choices are very personal.  Consult with those you trust.  Go to your knees.  I know that Heavenly Father wants us all to be happy.  He will help guide you if you go to Him in prayer.

I wish you the best of luck in your exciting journey!  You’re doing great!


Hello :), thank you for sharing your story and being so open about sharing your stay-at-home experience. You have a beautiful family. I am now a first time mom. I graduated with my B.S. in mechanical engineering in 2009 from UCSD and worked in the aerospace field as a design engineer for a little over 3 years. I then decided to go back to school full-time for 2 years to obtain my M.S. in mechanical engineering at UCLA and just graduated in June. My husband is also an engineer (computer engineer). We got married last summer 2013 :). I have just received a full-time job offer where my husband works. The job is ideal in terms of flex time, benefits and job security. However, my husband and I also now have a beautiful baby girl who is only 2.5 months old. I really want to stay home and care for her and our future children during their first few years of life like my mom did for me but I am afraid of so many things. Primarily, will I be able to obtain a job after being a stay at home mom for about 5-7 years? My parents are aging And need financial support, will they be fine? I trust in God's providence but I am wondering whether this job is his way of providing. My husband is fully supportive of either decision I make but prefers me working. If I do my mom will take care of my child and I will be able to come see her for about an hour twice a day since the job is flexible and we will live right by work. Please advise :). My heart is torn. I love my baby and want what's best for us. My biggest question is: is it realistic or easy to go back into engineering once my kids are older which will be after being a stay at home mom for 5-7 years?Thank you for taking your time to read my story and reply :-). Thanks again for sharing yours :)!

Ms. Angulo,

Thanks for writing.  I’ve been thinking how best to answer your concerns.  It’s important to remember that what works for one family might not be the best solution for you.  I think the hardest decisions we make are not between good and bad, but between good, better, and best.  Those choices seem to weigh on us the most.  Those are the choices that should send us to our knees, asking our Father in Heaven to help us know what to do. 

I chose to be a Stay At Home Mommy (SAHM) but every time I visit with my pediatrician, family doctor, or OBGYN I am grateful that these fantastic women chose to be working moms.  They’ve made such a positive impact on my life.  I know that they are sacrificing when they go to work each day, and I know that I am sacrificing when I stay home each day.  There isn’t one solution for everyone.  We need to be respectful of others choices because we don’t know what they’re going through.  All I know is that it’s hard either way.  We’re all just doing the best we can. 

I will share my story with you and some of the things that I faced when making my decisions.  My hope is that it will help you think through your options in a different way and if anything else, just give you the courage to make a decision – whatever decision that may be.

I loved my job.  I really did.  I loved the feeling of influencing something that was bigger than me as an individual.  I loved having “powerful” people tell me great job AND pay me!  I loved high pressure situations, tight deadlines, presenting to a crowded conference room, wearing “dry clean only” clothes, and critically thinking to solve complex issues.  I worked hard in college.  I sacrificed to get to where I was.  I loved every minute.

When my husband and I decided something (or someone) was missing from our little family, I was terrified.  I chose lawn-mowing over babysitting as a teen.  I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.  But I knew that I could do hard things – I was a freakin’ aerospace engineer for crying out loud! - so I was ready to take that plunge into the unknown.

I got pregnant.  Life started changing rapidly:  moving across the country, husband in grad school, telecommuting full-time, supporting our family on my income.  When the baby came it just made sense for me to keep working.  I mean, we needed medical insurance and food, right?   It was exhausting.  I hired my little sister to be our nanny and I knew that my baby was being loved on just as much as I would love on her.  I continued breastfeeding (sometimes feeding her while on conference calls – thank goodness for the mute button!)  I even made a casserole once!  I felt like a renaissance woman.  Life was chaotic.  Motherhood was exhausting.  But I was loving it!

My husband got a job with Ford in Michigan after grad school and away we went across the country again.  Pratt & Whitney was a fantastic company to work for.  They worked with me to find flexible solutions that fit our lifestyle and were supportive of my lengthy maternity leave (C-Section/NICU).  But when we moved I was torn on what to do.  I loved having my sister as a nanny.  I didn’t know how I felt about an unknown daycare environment and at the same time I didn’t know if I could give up my job.  I was just so confused.  I went to my knees and poured my heart out to our Heavenly Father.  I asked him to help me understand what I needed to do.  The more I prayed the more I knew I needed to quit my job.  It was the hardest and easiest decision of my life.

The next year was a difficult one for me.  I found the transition from technical design reviews to play dates at the park to be challenging.  It took months before I stopped introducing myself as an engineer and started introducing myself as a mom.  I felt that somehow I needed to explain to people that I didn’t “have” to be a SAHM and they would think less of me unless I divulged my entire history.  I was apologizing to complete strangers about my life choices.  I wanted to shake every new acquaintance by the shoulders and make them see I used to be “important”.  One day I realized how utterly ridiculous I was being.  Who cares what anyone else thinks?  I made the decision that’s right for my family.  I’m important to my husband and I am my daughter’s entire world.  I was finally able to stop mourning the loss of what I once was and could have been and was able to start living the life I chose.  I chose to be a SAHM.  That’s who I am now.  I proudly introduce myself now as the leader of my own little circus.

I plunged myself into motherhood.  And you know what I discovered?  Being a SAHM is waaaay harder than I ever expected.  I have never done something more constant, more demanding, more self-sacrificing in my life.  A few weeks ago I was driving to the grocery store late one night; I realized it was the first time I had been by myself in over 3 weeks!  The constant emotional and physical drain is more taxing than I could have imagined.  Sometimes it’s hard to feel significant when you’re sprawled on the floor wearing your spit-up covered jammies at 4pm.  But I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my girls.  I get to be with them when they are refreshed and gleeful.  I get to see them at their best and their worst.  My babies get so excited to sit on my lap and that they will crawl as fast as possible to me and dive headfirst the last few inches just to be with me.

Would my girls love me this much if I was a working mom?  I think so.  I hope so.  But I am truly grateful that I get to see their smiles all day.  I get to teach them to say please and thank you, I get to wipe their chubby bottoms, I get to sing them to sleep at nap time, I get to expose them to new things and new friends, I get to wipe their tears when they fall down, I get to watch them learn and grow, I get to be their mom. 

I know that many women work when they would like to stay home.  I realize that this opportunity I have is a blessing.  It’s hard to remember that when your toddler is having a nuclear melt-down in the frozen food section at Target.  But being home with my girls has taught me patience.  It has made me more easy going.  My daughter spilled a huge bag of M&Ms all over our kitchen floor.  Her big blue eyes shot up at me in panic at her mistake.  There was a time when “working Jenni” would have been miffed that she was being so careless.  The stress from working kept my temper on a short fuse.  But I think that “SAHM Jenni” has learned more patience and understands that we are all just trying our best.  As Scarlett and I giggled and ate M&Ms off the floor my husband told me how impressed he was with my new care-free attitude.  I don’t think everyone needs to quit their job to be more patient, but for me it was an unexpected benefit.  I finally feel that I can tell strangers that I’m a SAHM and just leave it at that.  I hope they realize what a sacrifice it is to be a mom, and that we’re not just staying home eating bon-bons all day (though that sounds lovely!)

I really do miss working some days.  I miss getting dressed up and using my brain, like really using my brain to figure stuff out.  I mean moms use their brain, but it’s different.  I just can’t think like I used to (I chalk that up to hormones).  It’s hard when my husband comes home from a fantastic day and gushes about all the cool things he got to do.  I am excited for him but I’m also jealous that he’s out there making it happen.  Since my husband is an engineer/MBA some days I ask him to unload the details of his work so I can learn and think and grow.  But some days I don’t want to think, I just want him to hold me while we cuddle on the couch and unwind from the stress of 3 little kids.  There are many days when his alarm goes off that I roll over into my warm pillow and fall right back asleep.  I love that I can take the kids outside and enjoy the beautiful weather instead of being stuck in an office all day.

We basically have a degree in advanced problem solving.  I use my degree every day as a busy mom!  I use it to make processes more efficient, like grocery shopping in the least amount of time.  I use it to convert dosages for different concentrations of infant medications.  I use it when we set our budget and financial goals.  I use it when trying to figure out why my baby is screaming her lungs out in the middle of the night.  I use it to replicate the clever craft projects on Pinterest.  I use it to increase the safety factor in our home.  I use it when teaching our children.

We were trying to solve a medical crisis a few months ago.  I finally decided that I needed to attack the dilemma like I would an engineering problem.  I typed out a list of my knowns and unknowns.  I almost drew a free-body diagram!  I took it with me to my doctor and we were able to come to a working solution quickly.  She still talks about the report I brought her!

My 3 year old is constantly asking me “why” these days.  My favorite response is “what do you think?”  I love seeing her little wheels turn as she tries to figure it out.  Then we discuss her solution.  I want her to have confidence and to think for herself.  I realize that we expose her to science way more than arts, but she seems to like it.  Here’s a conversation we recently had:
Scarlett: what is power?
Me: "Energy over time:
S: "I need more power."
M: "Well, you can increase your energy or decrease the time you're using it.  How could you increase your energy?"
S: "Eat healthy food and get lots of sleep?"
M: "Yes!!!  And then you'll have more power!"
We might have a little enginerd on our hands!  :-)
My dad always told me “you can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything.”  I really think that’s true.  You just have to decide what you really want.  When I quit my job I realized we were going to be living off of one income.  That was a scary realization.  But you can figure it out.  Some things have to wait.  We decided that paying off student loans was the best choice for us at the time.  Other things go on the backburner.  I couldn’t have the solid gold baby stroller that I wanted but I found some pretty cool stuff in my price range instead. 

With me being home, I am in a position where I can really support Jake’s career.  I remember how exhausting the stress of work can be.  I try to let him unwind when he gets home instead of shoving a kid in his arms as he walks in (which is my first instinct).  I try to be understanding when he works late and I realize that he would rather be playing paper airplanes than listening to his boss’s demands.  But there are days when I just need him home.  I try, but I’m not perfect.  Someday I’ll be the glossy, fancy wife that he married and not this frumpy, frazzled mom that I morphed into, but he doesn’t care.  He’s told me how grateful he is to know our kids are home safe with me.  I realized that being a SAHM isn’t just about my career, but it’s also about letting Jake pursue his career and giving him the support he needs to really chase his goals.  We’re a team.  We’re in this messy adventure together.

Will you be able to support your aging parents?  I don’t know.  Will it be easy on one income?  Probably not.  Is it possible?  I think so.

I know you have concerns about getting a job after being away from the industry for years.  I agree that this is a big concern.  I still struggle with that question.  I don’t think anyone can predict what our economy will be like in 10 years from now.  What I do know is that engineering degrees are often listed as the most valuable collage majors.  ( best-top-most-valuable-college-majors-degrees/).  I know that when the economy crashed in 2008 my husband and I graduated from ME with not one, not two, but three different job offers.

If I decide to go back into the workforce I probably won’t be the best engineer right away.  I will be rusty and need lots of training to get back to wear I once was.  I won’t be able to get my dream job right out of the gate.  I will have to start small and ease myself back into the foreign routine.  But Force will always equal Mass times Acceleration.  Newton’s Laws will always apply.  I know how to work hard.  So it will be okay.

I know that my story is just one small example.  I know that you and your husband are the only people who can make the right decision for your family.  Go to your knees.  Ask the Lord.  He will guide you.  Trust in Him.

I knew that I needed to be a SAHM.  At the time I made that decision I didn’t understand the Lord’s plan for me or why I needed to stay home.  One Monday morning my husband and I sat in the OBGYN office looking at the ultrasound monitor at two very distinct heart beats growing inside me.  I instantly felt confusion/joy/scared/amazed/overwhelmed/blessed/nauseous/ thankful.  It was at that moment that I finally understood why the Lord needed me to be home with our kids.  I somehow caught a tiny glimpse of what He needed me to do. 

Ask the Lord.  He will guide you.  Trust in Him.  Take courage to follow through with whatever you decide on.  Know that being a SAHM is a big sacrifice.  But it’s rewarding.  And sweaty.  So sweaty.  I feel blessed that I can be home with my girls and that I had the chance to work as an engineer.  I hope that you will find the path that will bring you the most joy and happiness too.

Wow! You are hard core!!!  :-)

My degree is in ME and many at my company also had ME degrees.  I think that you should have no problem getting into a graduate program with an ME degree.  You can always contact the graduate program you're interested in and ask them what they suggest.

I personally don't know much about chemical engineering.  I guess it would also depend on what you want to do within aerospace engineering.  If you wanted to work with fuels then CE would probably be the right choice.

Good luck!  You're amazing!!!

Hi Nameera!!!

I'm so glad you're excited about aerospace engineering! I think it's a wonderful career choice! ;-)

I think you can become both an engineer and a pilot. Once you get into college you will be able to meet with the advisers and discuss the courses that will help you achieve both of those goals. When you are looking at what schools to apply to you might want to consider schools that provide both courses. Hopefully there will be some overlap in the classes so you can work both simultaneously. But I think your best bet will be to contact the schools directly and ask these questions.

I really don't have much knowledge about becoming a pilot. I have several friends (some even engineers) who got their small engine pilot's license as a hobby. They really enjoyed flying, and I bet you will too. I think you're awesome and you can do it!!!

Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!


Well, I cannot give you specific advice on the PE exam since I haven’t taken it. But I have done the working with a baby/new mom thing. I agree with you to not plan on doing anything during the first few months. Hopefully you’ll have an easy baby and quick recovery but many things could prevent you from wanting to jump back into work at 3 months: colic, sleep problems, food allergies, PPD, etc. You won’t know how much you can do until you meet your baby and find out your new dynamics as a mother. I would suggest getting the study materials but don’t sign up for a test just yet. That way you can decide on a good pace without the pressure of a deadline. If you are able to get your baby on a good routine then it will be easier to set aside time each day for studying while they sleep. But remember, you also have to catch up on laundry, cook, clean, and take a nap during those precious hours too! If you have family close by maybe you could arrange to have them watch your baby for a few hours each week for your studying. Or if you have a spouse/significant other you could say “every Thursday from 7-9pm is PE review time” (for example).

Another thought I have for you is… if you’re seriously deciding on taking some time off work and becoming a stay-at-home-mom for awhile (which I am currently doing and I LOVE!) you might want to consider putting off the PE exam until you’re ready to go back to work. That way it will help you review basic principles you’ve forgotten over that time and it also shows a future employer that you’re still a competent engineer who hasn’t forgotten everything while being a full-time mom.

Best of luck to you and your new adventure as a mommy! And remember, they are only little for a short time so enjoy your baby and don’t put pressure on yourself to get everything done ASAP. There will always be time for the PE, but only a brief time to snuggle with your baby. I think as engineers we’re wired to be as efficient as possible and it is hard to just allow ourselves to sit and enjoy the moment. That was a hard transition for me to make and I regret not allowing myself to quit my job sooner to be with my baby. But I cherish the sweet moments we have now and hope to have many more with my two girls who are due in May. Many women can make the working mom thing work, but for my family being a stay-at-home-mom was the best option for us. :-)

Hello Zainab! What great questions you have! Engineering is a great field for females. In fact, when I was at P&W my boss’s boss’s boss was a female. So there is a chance for great success in engineering! If you are interested in machines/robots/engines, I would stick with Mechanical Engineering. I don’t think it’s necessary to double major with Aerospace engineering, unless you were 100% certain you wanted to work in the aerospace industry. The wonderful thing about ME is that it will provide you a broad overview of various industries. Because the ME coursework is so expansive it can offer you many different job opportunities (including aerospace, automotive, robotics, engines, etc). My degree is in ME and I never felt limited by it. I understand your questions about the engineering job hours and day to day office environment. Unfortunately it really depends on where you decide to work someday. You could end up in a very progressive small company that allows their employees really flexible hours or even a very traditional corporation that is a little behind when it comes to work-life balance. These are great questions and you should really investigate companies you apply to for work or internships to see what the company culture is like. Try to find alumni from your university that work at the companies you’re interested in and ask them these great questions. Most universities have an alumni directory. The company culture is an important part of your decision on deciding where to work. When I was at P&W they were flexible with me when I needed maternity leave, but it’s not something they did very often. They don’t allow part-time telecommuting employees and that was a major factor when I decided to quit and become a stay at home mom (which I love!) In fact, we just found out we’re having identical twins – due to arrive mid-Mayish! Also, right now I would suggest you focus on finding an internship for this summer. Try to find a company that specializes in things that interest you. It’s great for your resume but it’s also really important for you to get out in the workforce and see if robotics/engines/machines/etc are a good fit for you. And if your university offers any engineering clubs or projects (like Formula SAE, Engineers Without Boarders, etc) you should really get involved. I know they take extra time that you feel like you don’t have but it is so important to have those kinds of experiences on your resume. Best of luck! Jenni