Kathy Bowland earned her Master’s Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Here 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 work with electricity to make things or solve problems, like getting Wifi/the internet to work in your house or making a television. In a piece of equipment, there are a lot of electric circuit boards, which directs electricity to go along certain paths to do specific things - like light up a TV. LED.
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
Curiosity, creativity, patience, spatial awareness.
What did you know about your STEM field when you were a child?
I never really did any STEM activities as a child other than developing spatial awareness through Spirograph drawing toys and learning to read maps. My dad was always there to answer questions if I had any but I was never forced to do STEM activities. I joined science club for 1 year in 6th grade and had a great time experimenting with the science equipment after school with my friends where there were no grades and no pressure to complete an activity in front of my peers.
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
I took a physics class in high school and I loved it! Circuits were so fun - like puzzles. My high school physics teacher also had us think up experiments to prove physical laws, which was pretty cool.
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
Make videos in simulations (...ok, this doesn't sound cool but the videos are pretty great!), measure things outdoors and in anechoic chambers. I can also build antenna to make things fancier at home - improve the wifi in a room of the house or build a directional antenna to more easily capture over the air signals (google ‘cantenna’ for that one!).
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
If you're at all interested in STEM, I really encourage you to look at the careers available. There is a HUGE variety of jobs! From big-picture teamwork activities in a manufacturing plant to tinkering by yourself in a lab, you can find a job that really plays to your strengths where you can excel.
Thank you for contributing, Kathy!
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