Marilyne moved from Kenya to the United States to go to school. Though she studied art, her parents always knew she’d end up becoming an engineer.
Marilyne’s art piece titled ‘Capturing My Moment’ is inspired by her family. She says she gave up a lot to be in this country, including going 11 years before she saw her family again.
She has always been fascinated by airplanes and once thought she was going to be a pilot, so it is only appropriate she now works in aerospace.
When did you know you wanted to be an engineer?
I grew up in Nairobi, Kenya and I always wanted to come to the United States. Growing up, I wanted to be a lot of things: an artist, architect or pilot, which I thought would be great because I’d get to travel around the world. I also wanted to help people, because my country is a third world country and people need to find new ways of solving problems, like getting clean water. So ultimately, I wanted to help people and challenge myself.
All my life, I’ve been fascinated by airplanes and even though I didn’t exactly know at that time that I wanted to be an engineer, when I did come to the United States, my parents put on my visa that I was going to school to be an aeronautical engineer. I went to the University of Central Missouri and majored in art, which I have always loved. When I graduated, I had no idea what I was going to do. Who is going to hire an artist? On top of that, the job market was pretty bad at that time so I decided to enlist the help of some of my professors. They suggested going into drafting, which was a combination of my love of art and my strengths of science and math.
I liked the challenge and when I learned about engineering it sounded really interesting to me. But at the time I was scared. I thought, “I’m a girl. That’s a boy field.” And I had a great advisor who told me that I had the skills to do it so I decided to pursue it.
When I finally decided to go into aerospace engineering, my parents said, “That’s what we put on your visa!” I guess they knew all along!
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