Hello! My name is Beth, I am a PhD in mechanical engineering and a certified yoga instructor. As a lifelong learner, I am passionate about many things including space exploration, STEM education, women’s empowerment, and yoga.
I was born in Atlanta, Georgia but grew up in Northern Virginia just southwest of Washington, D.C. I spent much of my childhood at the dance studio and had dreams of becoming a Rockette or a Broadway performer. My plans began to change when I was encouraged to attend Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a magnet school in Alexandria, Virginia. Through a lot of hard work and fortunate surroundings, I discovered my aptitude for math and my love of problem solving.
After high school (and an unsuccessful audition to join the Rockettes in New York City), I attended the University of Virginia. I chose to pursue an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering largely because I was fascinated by the aircraft and spacecraft at the Air & Space Museum where I volunteered in high school. I dove into college head first, taking all the advanced classes they would let me into and joining just about every club and organization I could fit in my schedule while still getting a few hours of sleep each night. I have no doubt that those four academically intense years played a significant role in shaping the person I am today. During my senior year, I was chosen to be one of the 52 senior students that live “on the Lawn” or in the original dorm rooms built by Thomas Jefferson in the heart of the university. Charlottesville will always hold a very dear place in my heart and I love to visit every fall to enjoy the crisp weather and the excitement of a new school year.
In many ways it was very hard to leave Virginia and the East Coast when I decided to attend graduate school at Stanford University. I think the challenges I faced during my first year in graduate school helped me see the importance of slowing down and being present. Getting a PhD had no shortage of highs and lows. It was a time of intense professional and personal growth. I met my husband, Chris, and we adopted our dog, Tucker. I learned how much work we still have to do to create a welcoming place for women in engineering and gained many tools and allies to be a part of this change in the future. And, of course, I gained technical, professional, and interpersonal skills that form the foundation for an exciting and impactful career as an engineer and educator.