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Ball Celebrates Women in Engineering Day

Women Engineers and Technicians Share Their Stories of Working in a STEM Industry



In celebration of National Women in Engineering Day (June 23), Ball Aerospace is recognizing some of our outstanding technicians and engineers.This day was started in the UK and is now an international campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and also let young girls and women know that there are amazing job opportunities out there for them.
 

Renee Teckenbrock, Mechanical Technician SpecialistRenee Teckenbrock

Mechanical Technician Specialist
My parents own a bicycle shop in a small town in Colorado. As a teen, I worked in the shop, helping to assemble and repair bikes.  The time spent in the shop helped me realize that I was really mechanically inclined and liked hands-on work. My dad was also a machinist and taught machining courses at the local junior college, which really opened my eyes to that world. After graduating from high school, I moved to Denver and enrolled in trade school for machining. I absolutely wouldn’t be here today without my trade school degree, and even though I didn’t go into higher education, it laid the groundwork for what I do here at Ball. I was never really afraid of going into machining; I am very confident in my mechanical abilities. In fact, I was the only girl in trade school, and I’ve been the only woman in mechanical assembly at Ball for many years. I like the satisfaction of being able to build something, see it come to fruition and know that I’ve got all these cool things out there that my hands have built. Nothing should stop you from going after what you want.



 

Torie Hadel, Radio Frequency Engineer (Photo courtesy of Torie Hadel)Torie Hadel

Radio Frequency Engineer
I was the first person in my family to go to college. In high school, I didn’t get much exposure to STEM or engineering — I just knew I liked math. I also didn’t have a lot of role models for people that had gone to college because I was a first-generation student. So, when I enrolled at Colorado State University, I actually went in totally undeclared. My freshman year, I took a physics course and learned about charges and electromagnetic waves for the first time. I just thought it was the coolest thing ever, so I talked to my college advisor, and she suggested that I look into electrical engineering. I did and just fell in love with it. When you first go into engineering, it may seem a little daunting when you are one of only a few girls in class or, here at Ball, one of only a few women in meetings. But, I have never felt different; I’ve always been part of the team. And I’m not “one of the guys” — I’m just a team member. The most successful teams have a diverse group of people, where everyone has different ideas and backgrounds and can come together to come up with a solution.







 

Joanne Egges, Materials and Process EngineerJoanne Egges

Materials and Process Engineer
I did not actually begin my career in aerospace — initially with a B.A. in Psychology, I worked in healthcare research. Later, I decided to pursue engineering, getting a B.S. in chemical engineering. When applying to Engineering School, I was told by the head of admissions that I did not have the skills for engineering and he strongly discouraged me from pursuing it. I overcame this roadblock with determination. For me, engineering is a very satisfying career.  I have worked at Ball since 1984. Initially, I primarily worked as a materials and process engineer, later shifting to a contamination engineer, including working on the James Webb Space Telescope. I like the technical and diverse nature of contamination, performing analysis, working on designs and directly on hardware. The best part is seeing successful mission results from our hardware. My advice for women entering the STEM fields is to get exposed early. I see progress for women in technical fields, which is exciting.





 

Kristin Martinez, Mechanical EngineerKristin Martinez

Mechanical Engineer
I started at Ball 20 years ago, and my degree is in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado. In school, I loved science and math. When I was 12 years old, I designed a ramp system for my dog to get outside from my bedroom window because I was too lazy to keep letting her out the back door. I am also a product of Ball outreach. In the 1980s, I was a 6th grader and Ball had a contest for students to go see a space shuttle launch in Florida. I was one of the winners of this contest because they recognized that I loved building and designing things. Seeing this launch made me want to pursue engineering, even at a young age. It lit a fire in me. One single experience for a child can light a spark that can last for his or her whole life. They need that exposure — this is why I speak in classrooms about my job. At Ball, I’m a mechanical engineer. I design composite space structures and I love it. I like structures because I can see it and draw it. I work with mostly male engineers, but whether I am male or female hasn’t made a difference in my career. I still feel respected in my role. I have grown up in a very open-minded environment, and if I’m judged, I want to be measured by my abilities and by what I produce — not by my gender.