DEGREES: B.S. in mathematics and mechanical engineering; M.S. in mechanical engineering with a concentration in thermal sciences, specifically combustion, Stanford University; M.B.A., Carnegie Mellon University
JOB TITLE: General Manager, Coatesville (Pennsylvania) Operations, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company
FAVORITE TRINITY MEMORY: Other than graduation, of course! Having both of my parents there with Coach Ellis to see me receive the Susan E. Martin scholar-athlete award. They were so proud!
What does your job entail?
Delivering Sikorsky’s commercial product line, mainly consisting of production and completions for the S-92A and S-76D helicopter lines for the VIP, search and rescue, utility, and emergency medical service markets.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Working with the best people in the business to design, procure, build, test, fly, certify, and deliver to the specifications of customers all over the world. It is incredibly special to rally with the team to satisfy customers. The greatest testimony to our work is the feedback we receive from our customers, days, months, even years later of how our helicopters save lives. It is incredibly satisfying. I recently earned my helicopter pilot’s license, which has given me an entirely new perspective and a profound appreciation for our products.
Why do you think it is important to get girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields?
I understand the value of diversity in the workplace. I recently won an award for diversity and inclusion for making certain that we have an active Women’s Forum on site and other cultural employee resource groups so that we can all bring our full selves to work. This will attract and retain the best talent from all over the world. Women are 50 percent of the population, yet less than 18 percent are in engineering fields. It is so important to inspire young minds to encourage them to go into and remain in these fields. Valuing different ideas delivers the best products.
What is the Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT) program in which you participate?
GETT’s website explains that it is an annual event “for girls in grades 5 through 10 and their parents to learn about career opportunities in a broad scope of STEM-related industries. The day is filled with exciting, enlightening, and experiential workshops led by successful women in STEM fields.”
How did your experience at Trinity help prepare you for what you do now?
Studying engineering in a liberal arts environment — in an ABET-accredited engineering program — and double majoring helped make me well-rounded. I learned leadership skills through being captain of the softball team, serving as co-chair of our SWE [Society of Women Engineers] chapter, and working as a TA. I also have worked as an expatriate in Poland and traveled the world for the company. Trinity exposed me to different cultures and made me appreciate cultural differences, making me curious to explore more.
Was there a professor who was particularly influential?
I came into Trinity interested in physics and mathematics. Professor David Ahlgren, also engineering chair at the time, asked me what I liked about physics. I explained that I liked the physical, tangible, mechanical things about physics. Weights, pulleys, motion. He encouraged me to take “Mechanics I,” and after that, I was hooked. I became a mechanical engineering major. Professor John Mertens, now chair, also was extremely influential in helping me go on to graduate school. Professor Paula Russo, now mathematics chair, was a strong female influence and sound mentor. In male-dominated fields, it is important to have a strong female influence to encourage you to keep going when you most want to quit.
What was the most memorable course you took at Trinity?
“ENGL 101. Writing I” with Professor Barbara Benedict. It was as if she sensed my fear and took me under her wing! Coming in as a mathematics and physics major, English was not my strong suit. As a matter of fact, since my SAT scores were so lopsided to math, I was asked if English was my second language. Since it was not, it was recommended that I take a full year of English to demonstrate proficiency. The first semester I did very well, getting an A, which waived the need to take a second semester. I chose to take an ethics course, which even further challenged the right half of my brain. These proved to help me to become well-rounded, propelling me further in my career.
For more information about GETT, please visit www.gettpa.org.