Jessica is a Masters Student Researcher at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, where she is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at McGill University. Below she shares a little about her career and the inspiration behind it.
What is your specific area of STEM?
Combustion Engineering.(Aeronautical + Mechanical)
How would you explain your STEM field to young girls?
Combustion is the field of engineering that deals with generating power (from coal, oil and natural gas), motors/engines (cars, tractors, ships), and propulsion (rockets and airplane engines)!
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
I think curiosity. Always asking "why?" Why does this happen? Can this be done another way? If it can be, why hasn't anyone else done it?
What did you know about your STEM field when you were a child?
I knew there were rocket scientists but I didn't think the possibility was within my reach. A stranger on a plane encouraged me to pursue my dream saying "it’s not that hard. You can do it!" Boy, was I in for a surprise! Of course, it was difficult, but my dream was possible. And that motivation was the difference.
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
Kim Possible's dad was a rocket scientist and I thought that was really cool! I thought "why can't I be like him? I want to build rockets!"
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
Propulsion is really cool because usually, you add metals to fuel for an extra power boost. So I worked on a project which involved burning aluminum, iron, and silicon powder! That was super cool because they all act differently to traditional hydrocarbon fuels and they mainly look and act like fireworks!
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
Not only do you get to choose between science, technology, engineering and math, but within each domain you have hundreds of disciplines! Your possibilities are endless and you are bound to find something you are passionate about. But at this point you don’t know what that passion will be, and that's exciting.
Thank you for contributing, Jessica!
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