Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Karen Purcell, Principal Electrical Engineer

Karen Purcell

Principal Electrical Engineer

PK Electrical, Inc.



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I always loved math and science. When I was applying to college, my high school physics teacher suggested that I try engineering. I asked him “What do engineers do?” It was his response that sold me. Basically it boiled down to “lots of things.”

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
My firm works on so many cool projects. I think that one of them has been the Center for Molecular Medicine at the University of Nevada Reno. This was a 100,000 square foot research lab facility. Our engineering design created the plans for the lighting, power and communication systems design. PK Electrical also works on a lot of healthcare projects, which happens to be my favorite area of design. Many of our projects have also won industry awards.

Role models/heroes:
Sally Ride is definitely one of my heroes/role models. She made such huge progress for women by being the first woman in space. Also, her website and associated programs have provided and abundance of information and resources for girls and woman. There are also some fabulous business owners and high ranking executives within the STEM fields that I admire such as Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook. As a business owner, I can certainly understand and relate to some of their daily struggles and accomplishments.

Why do you love working in STEM?
It is the most challenging yet most rewarding career. I love the fact that in the type of engineering that I do you put together a design on paper and then you see it become a reality once the building or project is constructed. Every project is different and each with its own challenges. Working on problems and coming up with solutions is so fulfilling and gratifying to me.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Be true to yourself. Follow your dreams. If math and science are subjects that you like and are passionate about then explore your options. Find a mentor.

Favorite website/app:
None that are really my favorite. I get on a variety of websites/apps – of course I prefer the STEM related sites.

Website: unlockingyourbrilliance.com, stemspire.com, pkelectrical.com
Twitter: @stemspire

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