Education: Bachelor's degree in electrical and electronics engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Tell us about your family: I have an amazing support system within my family. Without their support, I wouldn't have been able to experience and achieve some of these things at 23 years old. Even though I'm currently halfway around the globe, I still try to keep in touch with them every day.
Biggest failure and what it taught you? When I was interning with Covestro in Baytown, Texas, I was asked to put together a presentation about a project. This was a great opportunity to showcase my innovative spirit and creativity to my superiors. Unfortunately, I went into the presentation skeptical of my work and quickly rushed through it. As a result, my internship supervisor and colleagues were confused about my results and not impressed with the progress.
Luckily, I was able to quickly realize I made a mistake and asked for the opportunity to go over my presentation again. The second time around I trusted my knowledge, judgment and skills to confidently deliver my presentation.
What is your current challenge at work? Balancing my Covestro and Solar Impulse duties. I have been with Solar Impulse for five months, and now that I am working in a different time zone, it can be challenging to keep up with both organizations.
What emerging technology or market most interests you? The electronics market. I also have a huge passion for sustainability and have a desire to make the world a brighter and more sustainable place.
What about the plastics industry surprises you? There is a misconception that plastics are not sustainable. I did not know that many companies in the plastic industry, including Covestro, are leaders in sustainability.
Best advice you've received? Nothing is impossible. I love to face challenges and discover new solutions for problems. I ask “why not” instead of “why” because we should always be looking for new answers. Just because something works does not mean it is the ideal solution.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in plastics? I want aspiring plastics professionals, particularly women, to keep their personal dream in the back of their mind, and be mindful of that goal whenever they fail or are told they can't do something. Confidence and believing in yourself are the biggest contributors to success.
Who is your mentor, or someone you look up to? My sponsor is Irene McGee, vice president of health, safety, environment and quality. As I've been completing my Solar Impulse journey, I have connected with her many times to answer questions that range from who to contact about switching to an international phone plan to how to adapt in a new professional and social environment.
What job do you really want to have in the future? My main goal is to continue having a job that I am passionate about. I love to be creative and use these skills to come up with innovative solutions.
What do you do to relax? I enjoy riding my bike around Pittsburgh. I head out in the morning and ride around until I find a new restaurant for lunch. I also love scuba diving. So much of the planet is covered in water and not a lot of people get to experience it. When I dive, I go to a different world. I am swimming with fish, turtles and even sharks, but it is always peaceful.