Five days of Geekery: Day 4

Today we have another long time friend, also an MIT grad. Coincidence perhaps since Sark from Love, Technically went to MIT? Maybe? I also found her answer about airline safety interesting because I think I was sitting very close to her in 5th grade when the announcement came over the loud speaker about the Challenger disaster. I know Jon H was at the desk group, but I think she was there too.

1.     Can you give a few sentences about your background- your job, your degrees, a brief history of how you ended up in the industry?

My degrees are in aeronautical engineering.  I have a Bachelors and a Masters from MIT. When I started college I intended to work towards becoming an astronaut, however one of my high school acquaintances passed away in a horrific crash in Cali, Colombia.  Coincidentally, the following summer I got an internship working in the safety division at Boeing.   As much as I would have loved to become an astronaut, I felt like airline safety was where I should focus.  I ended up doing my graduate work in Air Traffic Control (ATC) and safety and I eventually ended up working at NASA Ames Research Center developing new ATC tools.

2.     Were you interested in science/technology as a child?

Very much so.  My parents used to talk to us about all kinds of medical advances and things going on in science and technology.  The biggest impact on me, however, was the air shows we used to go to down in Opa Locka and the shuttle launch that we saw when I was about 5.  Planes always fascinated me, and the idea of going into space was captivating.  It still is, but at this point I realize that the choices I have made to have a family and stay at home have made that career choice impossible.

3.     What’s it like being female in the tech/science industry? Any good stories?

People often talk about gender discrimination in science/tech, but I have never experienced any serious discrimination in any way.  Occasionally there were profs who were older and didn’t take the women quite as seriously, but they were retiring anyway.

4.     Favorite famous nerd (fictional or otherwise)

I don’t really have a favorite nerd.  But if I really had to choose, Captain Picard would be a lot of fun to have dinner with.  In real life, my favorite scientist was the housemaster of my graduate dorm.  He was a real character, one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, and also happened to be the person who discovered the cause of sickle-cell anemia.

5.    Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Trek.  No doubt.

6.     Do you read/like romance novels?  

I haven’t read very much in the way of romance, but I’m always up for a good story.

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