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.

Twitter: @Queen_Of_Quarks

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