December 4, 2005Her job: Chemical Engineer, United Technologies Research Center
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
I am a Group Leader at United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) in Connecticut, where I am the manager of a group of 15-20 scientists, engineers, technicians, and student interns. I've worked on exciting projects ranging from fuel cells and hydrogen storage, to CO2 removal for space suits, destruction of refrigerants, and biotechnology.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
B.A. in chemistry from Bryn Mawr College Ph.D. from chemical engineering Columbia University
What do you like best about being an engineer?
What I enjoy most is working with all the talented people at the research center and in my group. I also enjoy coming up with ideas and have been fortunate enough to have over 30 publications so far, 5 patents issued, and over 20 patent disclosures.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
One of my dreams was to live in a cabin like Henry David Thoreau. After saving for several years I was finally able to do it. I lived alone in a relatively isolated cabin with 17,000 acres of state land and mountains on one side and 10,000 acres of private land on the other. I got to hike all day, paint landscapes, read, write, and think- no TV or radio or newspaper for 3 whole months!
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
I owe everything to my parents' support- my father has a Ph.D. in agriculture and soil chemistry from Michigan State University, and my mother has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. Because my mother is a physics professor, she helped me and my sisters with our science homework in school, and she was the main reason all three of us turned out to be scientists/engineers.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
I have hobbies and one of my main challenges is finding time for them. I like reading, hiking, landscaping for wildlife, bird watching, gardening, learning languages (French, Italian, and Russian to start with), traveling, spending time with my family and our 'kids' (two big dogs and a cat), volunteer work, animal care, kite flying, painting, and writing fiction- just to name a few.