I am the daughter of a career Marine and grew up on military bases around the country. What I took away from seeing my father put on a uniform each morning was a sense of service and the importance of working for something larger than myself. Driving across the country every other summer to a new duty station impressed on me that nothing is static and how important it is to be flexible.
My love for engineering can be directly linked to a multicolored set of Lego bricks. Why I chose to go into Aerospace engineering is not as clear. I attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where the motto is “Learn by Doing” and it wasn’t until much later that I realized not all engineers had the benefit of such a hands-on education....In 2008, I moved to Oregon to be closer to my family and to start a career in the solar industry. An engineering degree - even one with a focus on hands-on learning - doesn't make up for a lack of construction experience. So I started at the bottom to learn the trade.Read more
When I was in architecture school, my main interests were sustainability and green building at the residential scale. After college, realizing that I did not really know how buildings were put together, I joined an AmeriCorps crew constructing homes with Habitat for Humanity which involved a move from Minnesota to Oregon. After learning how to build new homes, I became interested in how to make existing homes more energy efficient. So I attended a volunteer orientation at the Community Energy Project and within the next week or so, I was offered a position there. I initially taught the lead poisoning prevention workshops and then later transitioned to the in-homes crew where we installed safety items and basic weatherization kits. After that I worked for a few different contractors teaching homeowners about more advanced energy efficiency measures that would help improve their homes. Working in renewable energy was the next logical step and I really wanted to work in the field again so I decided to become a solar installer.
It was still sunny out, but it was getting colder and the days shorter. My fiancé and I had moved into the old Native American log Hogan a month earlier. The stout wooden door, scarred with bear claw marks, held out the San Luis Valley wind and snow. But the one window I had cut in with a borrowed chainsaw allowed little light. As a result we had been using a couple of cheap kerosene lamps.Read more
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