Workforce Feature: Kristen D. – BAE Systems

College: Clarkson University
Field(s) of study: Mechanical Engineering
Position at BAE Systems: Mechanical Engineer
Years at BAE Systems: 4

What do you find exciting about your area of focus or your specific job at BAE Systems?
As a Mechanical Engineer at BAE Systems, I get to solve questions like “How can we get this advanced technology to fit in the smallest space possible, and still have it function properly when exposed to harsh temperature extremes and vibration environments?”  As an engineer, it is your responsibility to prove your product will operate safely and reliably every time it is used, through analysis before the product is built and through test to confirm that your analysis was correct. You don’t have time or budget to design on a guess and check philosophy.  You need to use what you learn in college to prove that it is worth spending the money to build a product to test.  I like the challenge and the responsibility of designing a product well, inside the constraints of volume, weight, temperature, vibration, salt water corrosion, limited and an increasingly competitive budget.

Why do you think young adults should consider careers in STEM?
Those who do well in STEM careers want to make an impact on the world we live in.  They aren’t afraid to take on responsibility and solve complicated problems.  One hundred years ago, cars were just appearing on the streets, electricity was just starting to show up in urban and wealthy areas, and airplanes had just begun to fly.  Technology has advanced so much in the last 100 years thanks to doctors, scientists and engineers who stepped out and tried something new.  This generation determines what technology will look like 50 years from now.  Ask yourself, what will technology look like in 50 years?  How can technology improve the way we live?  Without students and careers in STEM, the dreams of future technologies are just fantasies.  It is our job to make those dreams realities.