Caryn Carlson Rothe

Caryn R Carlson Rothe

Associate User Experience Consultant
WA, United States
Caryn Carlson Rothe
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As a Design Researcher at Microsoft, I get to work directly with our users conducting usability studies, ethnographic research, and generating research collateral. I work specifically within the OneNote and Education team.
I have a BS in Human Centered Design and Engineering and a BA in Anthropology focusing in Medical Anthropology and global Health. Both degrees are from the University of Washington, Seattle.
  • 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 Caryn R Carlson Rothe

My answer is go for it! Being a girl has nothing to do with your capabilities as an engineer. Yes, it will be difficult but not because it may be a course with more boys than girls. It will be tough because it's a STEM course and they are as challenging as they are rewarding. You can do anything you set your mind to and work for.

Don't think that your gender should play a role in the decisions you make when it comes to your education, your dreams, your aspirations. Work hard in the petroleum engineering courses and don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it. You can do it! :)

Just find a support group- be it here on, your friends, or your family. Keep them close and lean on them when you need to. Good luck in your studies!

If you want a tattoo, go for it! There are no rules on whether or not a person can have body art in the engineering profession (at least for the USA). 

However, some companies prefer that if you do have body art, that it can be easily, or at least mostly, covered by business and/or business casual clothing. I would suggest reaching out to professionals in the engineering disciplines you're interested in and see what is common for their industry.

While I personally do not believe that it should matter (personal belief, not representative of Engineer Girl or Lockheed Martin), some companies do have rules around body art. Just be mindful of that if you plan on getting a tattoo in the future.

Hi Camaren,

You know, from your description I would probably be easily frustrated with your class as well if I was taking it (I’m not very talented in the mechanical engineering department)! I struggled through my calculus, physics, and chemistry courses when I was first getting into engineering. What I can promise you is that it does eventually get easier if you stick with it! Just remember that rewarding feeling you get when you solve the problems – that happiness will never go away!

Engineering is a good career choice for anyone who wants to learn how to solve problems. Our engineering courses often force us to think outside of our traditional method of problem solving and find new answers to problems when the ones that seem the most logical don’t work. But remember, you’re not alone. Engineering is hard, that is one of the reasons why it is such a highly regarded profession. The great thing about engineering, however, is that there are so many different types.

Engineering jobs are far from scarce in our current economy. Engineers will always be needed. I caution you though against pursuing a career in engineering simply because there is a high demand for it.

The amount of teamwork involved depends entirely on the job and type of engineering you do. For example, as a human centered design engineer I work with a team of others like me. However, I have a friend who is a computer science engineer who does not have as much teamwork as I do (there are also computer science engineers who have lots of teamwork). While it’s best to know your stuff on your own, it is likely you will have a lot of teamwork in any engineering field.

Engineers design many things. I design mobile and web applications and websites, everything from the layout of the content to the visual design and overall experience. Aerospace and Mechanical engineers may design parts for airplanes. Bioengineers may design mechanical body parts for amputees (they design many other things as well). Materials science engineers may design new materials for sports equipment or solar panels. I would suggest that you start researching the various fields of engineering and that will help you find out what they design.

To your last question, again, engineering teaches you how to solve problems. It works as a base for other jobs (such as becoming a lawyer) because it gives you a way of thinking about things differently. Your ability to problem solve will never go away and can only help you in any future career.