Allison Redderson-Lear is a mechanical engineer with a strong focus in aerospace. She works on analyzing systems and designing solid models and drawings for aircraft/spacecraft parts. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine. Below she shares a little about her career and the inspiration behind it.
What is your specific area of STEM?
How would you explain your STEM field to young girls?
I am currently a designer and analyst with a specialty in automation and software customization for Saratech. In my job I get to make designs and technology run faster and more efficiently in a variety of engineering fields (everything from toys to rockets!).
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
Enjoying toys and activities that exercise a child’s spatial reasoning or mathematical skills can be an early indicator. More specifically, following instructions for Lego or even origami models require a child to translate a 2-dimensional image to a 3-dimensional object, and manipulate that object to an end result. As a child, Lego in particular helped me understand gear systems, torque, and leverage, even if I didn’t have the words to define them.
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
I was inspired to pursue a career in STEM when I started taking physics and calculus in high school. The ability to understand and define the world both conceptually and mathematically attracted me to physics, and I was drawn to the inherent creativity involved in engineering. I thoroughly enjoyed university classes and projects that allowed me to apply the things I’d learned to see a design through from start to finish.
I was also inspired by Simone Giertz. She is a Swedish inventor, maker, and robotics enthusiast. I enjoy her work, and how she approaches her projects with enthusiasm and creativity. She portrays engineering as something accessible and fun, and I hope she inspires other young people to pursue careers in STEM. (Visit Simone’s YouTube channel for inspiration.)
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
We send things to outer space! When you see a rocket launch, it’s cool to see something you’ve worked so hard on come together, but it’s even cooler to know that the rocket is delivering supplies to the International Space Station, or putting a satellite in orbit around earth, or going all the way to Mars or beyond. Remember, that rocket didn’t build itself—it took a lot of effort and teamwork to make it happen.
The coolest project I’ve worked on is analysis of an aircraft control surface. This project was quite a learning experience for me in a lot of ways. I did stress analysis for the entire structure, but I also had to document and substantiate my work. I automated various aspects of my work to streamline processes where I could.
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
Never stop learning. There’s always something new you can pick up, and if you continually develop your professional skills, you’ll be more attractive to potential employers and make for a better employee to a current employer both for your technical skills and because you take the initiative to actively improve your career.
Thank you for contributing, Allison!
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