Hi girls! For today’s perspectives section, we interviewed Lora Rothwell, Lead Mechanical Engineer with Turbomachinery Process Solutions. Lora Rothwell is an energetic professional, who loves designing components for natural gas flow meters and aims to become a project manager.
She volunteered in the STEM camp at Rice University in Houston and spent a week collaborating with GE Girls on STEM projects. She greeted us with her usual warm smile when we interviewed her.
GE Girls: Hi Lora, what influenced your decision to pursue a career in STEM?
Lora: When I was around 7 my family and I went to Johnson Space Center and I was amazed at all the cool space stuff I saw – artifacts from the moon landing and orbital capsules. I wanted to be an astronaut or work on rockets, and I heard you could do that if you were an engineer.
GE Girls: That’s great; what are you most excited about your career and your company?
Lora: I’m most excited about using my creativity to solve problems in the factory. I am a Mechanical Engineer, so whenever I have a chance to design something I really enjoy it. One of the best things is seeing and holding a part you designed.
GE Girls: Clearly, you love what you do every day! What would you tell young girls on why they should get into STEM fields?
Lora: STEM is mostly guys right now, but there are a growing number of girls pursuing it. Because there were so few girls in my classes in college, we all became close friends and we helped each other a lot. At Texas A&M the abbreviation for Mechanical Engineering was MEEN, so we formed a sub-set of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) called the MEEN Girls.
GE Girls: MEEN Girls sounds fascinating! Lora, who are some of your mentors and how did they impact your thinking in STEM?
Lora: One of my mentors was my sister-in-law who is 4 years older than me and becoming a Chemical Engineer. She graduated and got a good job, so I knew I could too.
GE Girls: Lastly, what challenges or obstacles have you faced along the way in your career and how did you overcome them?
Lora: Probably the biggest challenge in my career is overcoming my shyness and asking questions and speaking out. I am soft-spoken so other people (mostly guys) will talk over me or interrupt in meetings. I learned to just keep talking if they interrupt you. Or you can just ask them to stop interrupting.
GE Girls: Thank you, Lora for sharing your perspective and for inspiring GE girls to STEM fields. Good luck on your STEM journey!