I knew engineering was the place for me after the toilet paper class. A university professor was going through the design challenges of storing toilet paper rolls. How do you prevent it from running out too soon in a public bathroom? How many extra rolls is too many? How do you communicate which part of the storage container to push or slide to release the next roll? Suddenly, I was thinking about new ways to solve any problem around me big or small; I was hooked.
I’ve always been a builder girl. I used to build my little brother’s LEGO kits for him when we were little, telling him that building it was “the boring part” so I could do the whole thing. I went to as many air shows and lab tours as I could. When I sprained my finger on a trampoline in second grade, I made myself a splint to hold my finger straight for a few days. In college, engineering became an exciting real-world version of my childhood projects.
In the Upstate, there are tons of different kinds. Mechanical engineers at Michelin test the shape of the pattern on tires to grip the road best. At Hubbell Lighting electrical engineers build new, more efficient power systems. Software engineers are designing apps for healthcare, shopping, and travel. At Greenville Hospital biomedical engineers are prototyping new lab equipment to analyze cell growth.
As for me, I’ve moved from toilet paper to zero-emissions electric city buses. I am a customer service and repair engineer at Proterra in Greenville. I help fix anything that breaks and find the best ways to make our bus easy and efficient to use and maintain. I’m 1 of 3 female engineers at my company, out of 50 engineers total. Some days can be challenging, but most days it’s rewarding! I feel lucky to work on a really hard problem and to see the payoff.
To me, girls have three challenges in science and engineering.
Proterra – Customer Service Engineer