STEMinist Profile: Kim Geddes, Engineer, Physics Teacher

Kim Geddes

Engineer, Southern Engineering Services

Physics teacher, Cherokee County Schools in Georgia



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I loved my high school physics class and knew that I wanted to study this subject more. Also, while I was in high school, the Three Mile Island nuclear accident occurred, and I began to read a lot about the science behind the accident. This accident actually inspired to pursue a career in nuclear engineering because I believed that nuclear was a great alternative to fossil fuels, and we needed dedicated people to make it a safe alternative for power generation.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
My first place of employment was at the Savannah River Site, a government nuclear production and research facility. I had the opportunity to work with a team to develop a six-legged robot that moved like an insect. The robot was designed to go into areas unsafe for humans and the insect-like legs made the robot very agile, able to transverse uneven terrain, and capable of lifting objects many times its body weight.

Role models/heroes:
Marie Curie, Sally Ride.

Why do you love working in STEM?
Technology is constantly evolving, and there’s something new to learn every day.

Advice for future STEMinists?
I would give them the same advice Christopher Robin gave to Pooh, “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Favorite website/app:
DrawSomething

Twitter: @kimgeddes

STEMinist Profile: Julie Gould, Science Communication Masters student

Julie Gould

Science Communication Masters student

Imperial College, London



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I think I always knew I would be involved in science from a very young age, I was always curious about the world and constantly eager to learn. It wasn’t until I was in secondary school that I realised physics was something very cool. My physics teacher, Mr. Lyng was a great inspiration for me. He taught with such enthusiasm and flare that it was impossible not to fall in love with physics. Once I got to university, the continuous support I got from the Cardiff physics professors and my supervisors throughout my time there was enough to make me believe that I ultimately belong in physics.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
There haven’t been many yet, but one that definitely stands out is my final year undergraduate masters project. I worked at the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff where I teamed up with the radiation therapy treatment planning group. My retrospective project focussed on comparing three different treatment panning methods of radiation therapy for cervical cancer patients. One of these methods is currently used at the centre, and the other two were more advanced, more targeted forms of treatment. The comparison showed that there was much to be gained by using one of the newer methods at the hospital with the equipment they have available, and so they are now in the process of changing their treatment planning protocols.

Only one similar study like this had been done previously, so I was wading in fairly unchartered waters. This provided a great challenge, and was also quite daunting as I was unsure of where I was headed. I went into the project not knowing anything about it, and came out of it with a new set of tools, a great sense of pride and a lot of satisfaction. Presenting my results at my first conference was definitely the cherry on the cake. I am very pleased to have been able to work on a project that is directly applicable to patients, and that has the potential to help them on their road to recovery.

Role models/heroes:
My mother is my role model, my hero. She has risen above and beyond what people expected of her and became a well respected woman in her field. She had to deal with many difficult people as a woman working in her industry, receiving less respect, pay and benefits than she deserved. Although she is no longer working, she will always be an inspiration to me.

Why do you love working in STEM?
STEM subjects provide me with a constant challenge; a continous journey to discovery which I find extremely exciting. The people who are in the industry are also something that makes working in STEM a fastastic place to be. They are so creative and passionate about what they do, it is a pleasure to be around them.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Don’t let yourself be forced into going down a career path that you aren’t comfortable with. Take your time to make decisions about what you want to work on and make sure you chose something that really grabs your imagination. Most of all, believe in yourself.

Favorite website/app:
http://scienceseeker.org/ is a very nice website that allows you to have a read through thousands of science blogs which can make for some very fascinating reading. And for a good giggle, I like to have a look at the comics on http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php.

Website: jpcgould.wordpress.com
Twitter: @JuliePCGould

STEMinist Profile: Nicole Fellouris, Founder/CEO, Chief Security Officer

Nicole M. Fellouris

Founder & CEO, Elite Development Group, Inc.

Chief Security Officer, Access-Smart, LLC



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I am absolutely fascinated and wildly in love with STEM, and it’s been a long going affair since I was a kid. My career originally started in Chemistry and Pre-Med as I had a passion for using science to help and heal others in need. My first stint as a CIO while in college really pulled me into the enigma that is Information Security. When I realized as a ethical hacker I could make a difference in the world by mitigating and remediating cyber threats I knew this was it.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
Security assessments and penetration testing will always be the two coolest parts of my work. However, I worked on a Disaster Recovery project for an international Print & Copy Company that entailed me creating a failover network that spanned from Orange County, CA to the Netherlands. The design was highly technical and minimizing the Return to Operation time was tricky but it was pretty darn awesome when finished.

Role models/heroes:
Carl Sagan, Elizabeth Blackwell, Charles & Ray Eames, and Florence Sabin.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I’m a behind the scenes player whose work directly affects the everyday person—it’s very humbling and cool.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Most of the people who will criticize and discourage you are really just a bunch of insecure jerks—seriously ignore them. Always follow your gut intuition and don’t doubt yourself. Nourish friendships with the same devotion as a career. Make a wish when you see a falling star, never lose that wonderment and curiosity. The universe is a big beautiful place full of endless mysteries to be solved, stay amazed.

Favorite website/app:
http://www.everywhereist.com/

Website: www.elitedevgroup.com
Twitter: @elitedevgroup

STEMinist Profile: Janna Eaves, Student, Materials Science and Engineering

Janna Eaves

Student, Materials Science and Engineering

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
When I started developing a passion for the environment, I wanted to do something to really make a difference. At first I leaned toward the arts, and then the sciences, and when I saw the Solar Decathlon going on in Washington DC, I realized I could make a more concrete, lasting difference in engineering. Reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand also instilled in me an appreciation of production that couldn’t be satisfied in the liberal arts.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
Now that I’m in college, I’m working on a Solar Decathlon entry with the University of Illinois team, so I get to participate in the very thing that inspired me to pursue engineering in the first place! I’m on the grey water team, finding ways to sustainably re-use water from the house. This is definitely the coolest project I’ve ever worked on, even surpassing nanoparticle research.

Role models/heroes:
Ayn Rand, Rachel Carson, Anais Mitchell, Elsie Eaves, my mom.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I love working in STEM because I work magic on a daily basis. I can do things today that people used to attribute to spirits or gods or fantasy in the past. If you work hard enough and use a little bit of logic, there’s an answer to every question.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Stress is your worst enemy. The most important thing to do, whether you’re studying for a hard exam or working in a research laboratory, is to keep your cool and continue on.

Favorite website/app:
Twitter. I use it as a news source for only things I care about.

Twitter: @ask_jeaves

STEMinist Profile: Chelsea Partridge, Engineering Student

Chelsea Partridge

Engineering student, former intern at NASA and at GE Transportation

University of North Florida



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I fell in love with the mysteries of the universe when I was young, and was very much a space geek. When I was in high school, I had a couple of really amazing teachers who inspired me in physics and chemistry, and I decided to pursue physics. Then I got the chance to intern at Kennedy Space Center in their Prototype Development Lab while in high school, and I fell in love with engineering. It was incredible! It sealed in my fate in STEM. I did a second internship in the same lab the following summer, then started engineering school.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
What a hard question to answer! A lot of the projects I worked on at the Prototype Development Lab were really cool. The coolest is a tie between modeling a pressure vessel, doing calculations, and writing an analysis report for a hypergol flange sealed that leaked and scrubbed the STS-133 Discovery space shuttle flight, and designing railgun projectiles for launching UAVs for Kennedy Space Center’s Applied Physics Lab.

Role models/heroes:
This is a bit of a list! My top five: Richard Feynman, Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Suni Williams, and Coach A, my high school chemistry teacher.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I love working in STEM because it is so rewarding. I love feeling that I’m making a difference, and I love that I’m always learning. There is never a dull moment.

Advice for future STEMinists?
As many people before me have said, follow your dreams and don’t let anyone, including yourself, get in your way. Even if you aren’t a natural in your math or science classes, keep working hard and don’t lose focus. Perseverance is noticed and will take you a long way. Seek out and mentor and join clubs/societies. Mentors can be a fellow student, a teacher, professor, or a professional, but they are extremely beneficial. Societies such as SWE (Society of Women Engineers) are also great for networking and finding potential mentors.

Favorite website/app:
My favorite website is Netflix! I can access Doctor Who wherever I go.

Website: thequantumview.blogspot.com
Twitter: @Queen_Of_Quarks