My "STEAM" Story - a personal message to GK-12 students:
As a biomechanist, I live my life fascinated by "mechanically dissecting" how people move. As the granddaughter of an engineer, I was lucky that my grandfather exposed me to drafting and building techniques at a young age. I constantly asked him, and others, "how does that work?"… In hindsight, I also realize that I never wanted to do things (for example, homework, essays) in the same way that my peers did. Now, my career blends these personal tendencies to keep me happy, challenged, and learning unexpectedly exciting things.
In high school, physics was the ONLY core subject that came easily to me! I think it was because I was a dancer, so I was familiar with how certain physics phenomena felt. For example, I knew how it feels to bring your arms closer to your body to spin faster. Unfortunately, math was the hardest class for me, unless it was visual or based on patterns (instead of numbers). Without knowing what I wanted to "be" when I grew up, I ended up pursuing mechanical engineering because I enjoy physics, building, and figuring out how things work.
Even though pursuing an engineering degree may sound intimidating, the most important things you can learn in college is how to approach challenges and how to teach yourself seemingly incomprehensible topics. Engineering degrees prepare you to approach a problem systematically and with confidence (even if the problem seems scary at first). This skill makes engineers very desirable as potential employees after graduation, even outside of the engineering field. During my undergraduate studies, I found a relatively uncharted area between mechanics and dance that I decided to explore further. Now, I am excited that my current work incorporates all of my interests while expanding our current knowledge in the area of control and dynamics of human performance.