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What it's really like being a woman engineer in 2020

Today is International Women in Engineering Day (#INWED)! This year marks a full decade since earning an Aerospace Engineering degree, launching my journey as a woman engineer. So, what does it feel like as a woman engineer today, in 2020? 

It probably comes as no surprise that women are still the minority in most engineering fields, mine included. The real statistics? At my first job out of college, women made up 10% of my group and that percentage came from only one woman: me. There were a handful of other women scattered throughout the rest of the organization but it was probably around 10% at best. I relied solely on men to teach me how to interact with military officers, when to speak up in meetings, how to don and doff flight gear and talk on the radio, how to avoid red-out during aerobatics, how to take engineering notes during night flights, how to setup and run data, how to run a pre-flight and post-flight briefing, how to conduct myself at customer sites, how to layer up and …
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#LaunchAmerica: Back in Business

"We do not give our GO lightly. There are risks on this mission, but we are ready, and it is time to fly." - Zeb Scoville, ISS Flight Director for DM-2 Mission
I've had nine years to think about what I would write on this day, but my feelings are still hard to put into words. 
Nine years ago the shuttle made its final journey into space leaving America reliant on Russian rockets and technology to reach the International Space Station. Back then I was a new Flight Test Engineer, dreaming about space but still learning the ropes in experimental helicopters. I wasn't married, I didn't have any kids, I was only halfway through a Masters degree. I would never have predicted what my life would look like today, as I sat in awe, tears streaming down my face -- an American rocket once again launched with humans on board, headed to the ISS. 
2020 has been tumultuous. It's been hard and unpredictable. It's been a year of isolation and heartache. It's been divisive …

Launch America: Repost from November 3rd, 2010

It's L-1 again! 
If you've been following along this week on the blog I am revisiting some old posts leading up to the launch of the Demo-2 mission (hopefully) tomorrow! Our friends at the 45th Weather Squadron give tomorrow a 50/50 chance of violating flight rules. 
Today's post was originally published on November 3, 2010 and is a little more diabetes-centric than my last few throwbacks. I wrote about how the schedule of diabetes is just as unpredictable as the weather and shuttle launches -- seems appropriate given the DM-2 weather delay ;-) 
Thank you for following along and I hope you are able to tune in tomorrow, 3:22pm EDT for the launch! 
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I was looking forward to the Space Shuttle launch on Monday, then it was pushed to Wednesday and now it is scheduled for Thursday due to several electrical issues from a main engine computer controller. Ironically, our little MH-47G (due to start testing on Monday originally) ha…

Launch America: Repost from July 8th, 2011

Our launch attempt yesterday of the Demo-2 mission was scrubbed due to weather. It's Florida. In May. So, none of us are surprised, but it's still a bummer! On the bright side it means another 4 hour block of launch coverage on Saturday (5/30), leading up to a new launch time of 3:22pm EDT, set your clocks!
To keep things interesting I have a couple more throwback blog posts to share! If you missed the last few days of throwbacks, check those out here, here and here. The repost below was originally published on July 8th, 2011 -- a year and half into my first job post-college as a civilian Flight Test Engineer for the Army. Ironically, one of the Demo-2 astronauts, Bob Behnken, was also a former Flight Test Engineer (although in the Air Force). It's neat to recognize these parallels and feel connected to such amazing space pioneers! 
I've also been sharing lots of fun behind-the-scenes on my Instagram stories, so be sure to hit follow over here
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Launch America: Repost from September 17, 2014

We've made it to L-1! 
Our friends at the 45th Weather Squadron predict a 60% chance of good weather tomorrow as we prepare to launch astronauts from American soil to the ISS! 
Today I'm looking back at a post originally published on September 17, 2014. The commercial crew providers had been announced the day before and while we were all excited, the anticipated launch dates felt far off. It feels impossible to sit here today only hours away from the first launch opportunity -- the countdown clock already running! Since that day I've worked really hard on products the crew will hopefully never use -- intended to keep them safe in an emergency undock scenario. It's true what they say, NASA has backup plans for backup plans! 
I hope you will make plans to tune in tomorrow! Launch is scheduled for 4:33pm EDT with NASA TV coverage starting at 12:15pm EDT. 
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"The last time we launched an American crewed spacecra…

Launch America: Repost from July 18, 2012

I am revisiting some old posts during the lead up to the launch of DM-2! Two American astronauts are scheduled to launch from American soil next week for the first time in nearly a decade! All of us at NASA are beyond excited to witness the first new human-rated launch vehicle and spacecraft since the Space Shuttle!

Today's post comes to you all the way from July 18, 2012! At that time I worked for the Army as a Flight Test Engineer! Sometimes we would travel to locations and scope them out as helicopter testing sites (i.e. types of terrain, refuel and hangar services, proximity to hotels, etc). I wrote this piece of prose after visiting Edwards Air Force Base and seeing all of the history there. If you know anything about early NASA days (back then, NACA) you know Edwards was a common stop for the test pilots that would go on to become America's first astronauts. Now, the base holds some of the most interesting test vehicles and artifacts! My zest for the future of human spac…

Launch America: Repost from September 21, 2010

On May 27th two American astronauts will launch from American soil for the first time in nearly a decade. My role on this particular mission is limited, but the excitement around NASA (even virtually) is electric. Many of my close friends and colleagues have spent years writing flight rules and procedures, practicing calls and anomalies in simulations, and checking off verifications and requirements. I thought it might be fun to revisit some of my old blog posts in the days leading up to this historic launch. It will be interesting to compare my feelings about the space shuttle program winding down (and my place in life 9 years ago) with my incredible proximity to America's return to human-rated launch vehicles.
This post was originally published on September 21, 2010! ___________________________________________________________________________
Today, in the wee hours of the morning, Space Shuttle Discovery made it's final [planned] trip to launch pad 39A. It may seem meaningless,…
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