Kristina Lawyer

Research engineer, Argonne National Laboratory
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"There is no reason women can’t be engineers. While it is a predominately male field, I have never been treated differently because I am a woman."

INTERVIEW DATE August 16, 2007
HER JOB Ph.D. Student, Michigan Technological University
Engineering Careers
Mechanical |

I chose engineering because I like hands-on work, but I didn’t want to spend every day working in a shop. Engineering is a compromise between office work (reports, meetings, etc.) and laboratory work (experimentation, etc.).

Kristina Lawyer, Argonne National Laboratory

ADDEDThursday, August 16, 2007

  • Q
    Describe what you do in your current work situation?
    A
    I am working on my PhD in Mechanical Engineering. I am currently doing research on hybrid vehicles and a study on service learning
  • Q
    Why did you choose engineering?
    A
    I chose engineering because I like hands-on work, but I didn’t want to spend every day working in a shop. Engineering is a compromise between office work (reports, meetings, etc.) and laboratory work (experimentation, etc.).
  • Q
    Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    A
    I graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in May '08 with a Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering. I will have my Masters in Mechanical Engineering in December '10.
  • Q
    What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    A
    I attend classes and conduct research in both the Mechanical Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering departments. My research is not laboratory based, so I spend most of my time in my office at my computer.
  • Q
    What do you like best about being an engineer?
    A
    I like being able to look at a machine and figure out how it works. I now apply the problem solving skills I learned in engineering school to everything, and it allows me to understand things that I would otherwise have a hard time figuring out.
  • Q
    Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    A
    I am most proud of how my accomplishments as a racecar driver fit together with my career. I have the great pleasure of pursuing my passion within my career.
  • Q
    What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    A
    The biggest challenge that I have faced is proper time management. Just like any demanding career, being an engineer requires lots of time and effort. At first I didn’t think I was able to put forth the effort nor had the time to be a good engineer, but through determination and lots of help from my professors, I learned how to accomplish everything that I needed to in the time I was given.
  • Q
    Please tell us a little about your family.
    A
    I am an only child. My parents reside in Southern Indiana with our plethora of pets. My parents and I are very close and spend lots of time together. My extended family is rather small and resides all around the country.
  • Q
    What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
    A
    I would like to be an engineering professor.
  • Q
    What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
    A
    When I graduated from high school my mother bought me a ring that has "To Thine Ownself Be True" scribed on it (from Shakespeare’s Hamlet). Every day when I put it on it reminds me to trust myself. I try to make choices by knowing what would be fulfilling to me, and beneficial for society as a whole.
  • Q
    What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
    A
    There is no reason women can’t be engineers. While it is a predominately male field, I have never been treated differently because I am a woman. If you enjoy math, science and technology, an engineering career is both personally satisfying and a great way to improve our society. If you already know that you want to be an engineer, I advise you to stay sharp in math and improve your study skills (they can never be too good).
  • Q
    Quote
    A
    "Some of my favorite experiences have been during collegiate trips. It is so much fun to go to another state, or another country, and work with engineers from different backgrounds. It is neat to get to know these people personally and then to get to share ideas with them is even better."
  • Q
    Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    A
    There is no reason women can’t be engineers. While it is a predominately male field, I have never been treated differently because I am a woman.
  • Q
    Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
    A
    My hobby is drag racing. I have driven a racecar since I was 7 years old and nearly everything in my life now revolves around racing. I have been successful on an amateur level and I hope to be successful on a professional level some day.