Nicole Obriecht: how working for NASA changed an engineer’s career path #WomenInSTEM #NASA
imanengineer.com has a great list of profiles of different engineers – this one is about Nicole Obreicht a Fielded Systems Hydraulics Engineer at Parker Aerospace.
Nicole dreamed of working for NASA when she was a kid and got the chance to intern at their office in California.
Nicole competitively races mountain bikes and always pushes herself to improve.
Nicole loves animals and would be a surgical veterinarian if she weren’t an engineer.
When you think back to the path you took to get where you are, is there a time you can point to and say, “That’s when I knew I wanted to become an engineer.”?
Yes! I was too young though to know that it was “engineering.” But I knew what I wanted to do when I was 10 years old. I watched the space shuttle launch on TV and I knew I wanted to design them.
Is it fair to say you’re doing what you thought you’d be doing when you were growing up?
No, because originally my dream was to work for NASA and design space shuttles, but then I had an internship with NASA and realized it wasn’t for me, because I didn’t like design. I went through a bit of a crisis. I was three years into my degree program and thinking this isn’t what I wanted to do. Then I got an internship in the private sector with Stryker and I realized there’s more to engineering than design. There’s sustaining, there’s quality, there’s manufacturing. When I saw all that, I realized I needed to finish my degree because there were options for me and what I wanted to do. I just needed to get more experience and rotate among the different fields to see what I liked best. Now I’m a sustaining engineer, so I don’t do much design work. I do more problem solving and trouble shooting.
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