December 4, 2005Her job: Mechanical Engineer, Honeywell FM&T
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
I am involved in custom product development, this involves finding the customer, learning their needs, developing the product, and delivering it to the customer. Products include machine vision systems, data analysis, image processing and sensor systems.
Why did you choose engineering?
I have always had an interest (and been successful) in math and logic-type problems. The counselors at school encouraged me to go into engineering based on this interest and success.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
I went to New Mexico State University where I received my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Electrical Engineering and my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
I have always had to refer back to various areas of engineering and physics to solve problems I have been faced with. I do not always remember every formula or material property, but I do know where to go find it. I also work in small teams where everybody has a lot of responsibility. I communicate often with the customer and strive to meet and exceed there needs.
What do you like best about being an engineer?
I work of a variety of diverse products at my engineering job. While I do spend a lot of time on my computer, I also get to work with cameras, microscopes, sensors and other hardware components. I get learn about the state of the art 'techi' stuff.
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
It is difficult to be a shy, introverted girl in a room of mostly males in engineering classes and other similar groups. I learned to solve problems all on my own. I learned to speak up and ask for help. I learned people are people and everyone has their own bias, so if you do an excellent job, it's hard for people to ignore you.
Please tell us a little about your family.
I was married while pursing my PhD. My husband is also an engineer. I was nervous about how to juggle kids and a demanding career, but I now have a 3 year old and a 1 year old and wouldn't change a thing. I believe I am the biggest role model in their lives, and I want to show them they can do anything they want. My husband and I work well as a team taking care of our two girls.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
I am currently working on obtaining the next step in my technical career path at Honeywell. I will continue to work and grow in my areas of expertise. Long term, basically I will position myself to be happy in my career and life.
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
Definitely the teachers in my life. Math teachers taught me to love math, engineering professors taught me to take what I have learned and do something creative and productive with it.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
I love to run and participate in local fun runs and trail runs. I downhill ski and am on the National Ski Patrol. I volunteer in various community education programs. I also enjoy sewing and craft projects.