Laureen A. Ervin

Current Position: at The Boeing Company
Laureen A. Ervin
Highlight Study hard; this is a challenging career, which is why it pays well and is in demand.
October 8, 2007Her job: The Boeing Company
Describe what you do in your current work situation? I write software, implementing new concepts in flight deck displays for airplane flight simulators, so that new ideas can be demonstrated to customers and tested with pilots.
Why did you choose engineering? Science has always fascinated me, astronomy, chemistry, biology…  Although math by itself is not my favorite, when combined with engineering problems, it’s like solving a puzzle, difficult, but a rush when successful. Being paid well and having job opportunities also influenced my choice.  I also wanted to be an artist, but I didn’t want to starve.  These days, my artistic side is expressed in hobbies.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have? My undergraduate degree is in electrical engineering from the University of Washington (BSEE). Many years later, I completed earning a masters degree in computer science (MSCS) with a long-distance learning program through Walden University.
What do you like best about being an engineer? Conjuring up an engineering solution using math reminds me of Hermione from Harry Potter using mysterious incantations to whip up a great spell!
Please tell us a little about your family. I have a wonderful husband, two grown sons and daughter-in-laws, one grandson, and two cats.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals? Short-term, I want to incorporate more of my skills into my computer graphics work, adding algorithms based on math, artificial intelligence, systems design… Long-term is more difficult to predict.  I could continue along the same path, or consider down-sizing or “retirement”.  I wouldn’t mind combining my engineering skills more with my artistic side; being involved with computer graphics for flight simulators is a good start.  When I do get to “retirement”, I might do more painting, or fabric and clothing design, that is, indulge and further develop my artistic side.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering? Study hard; this is a challenging career, which is why it pays well and is in demand.  This allows you to achieve other goals (dream home, nice clothes) and be self-sufficient.  Taking on a challenge and succeeding is very satisfying. Don’t sell out; be your own self.  It’s time for women to redefine being an engineer; it’s not just for nerds! 
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book. My hobby is being in a local music band.  Another woman and I sing the leads and harmonies to most of the songs, and the guys play guitar, bass and drums and do some singing too.  This is a very fun hobby, even though we are not even close to being famous. I also paint and draw when on vacation.