02. 06. 2023
12 min read

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

February 11th is International Women and Girls in Science Day as declared by the United Nations. The day aims to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. 

As a way to celebrate this day and honor the women of PFF, we asked a few questions to some of the women in the office that are the brains behind our following robots. Hear from Hailey, Mechanical Engineer, Danielle, Software Engineer in Test and Megan, Smart Behaviors Researcher. 

What are you currently working on at PFF?

Hailey:I work on the Mechanical Team at PFF where our team's core focus is to support the physical design and build of our products. My workload often varies though some of my responsibilities include working on rapid prototyping for new products, design evaluation on the individual part or system levels, and providing production support for existing products.

Megan: I'm currently working on analyzing motion capture data to categorize human behavior during various motions/activities.

Danielle: I am working on software validation of the gita robot and respective mobile apps. This is ensuring the latest software works before giving the updates to customers.

When did you become interested in science and know you wanted to make a career out of it?

Hailey: Math and science were always a passion for me in school, but I really became interested in the STEM fields as a career when I participated in FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in high school.

Megan: I have always really enjoyed math and sciences so I decided to go to a STEM focused college. While there, I was able to work with really awesome professors that got me interested in various applications of biomechanics and that became the inspiration for my career path. 

Danielle: I first became interested in science when I volunteered at an elementary school function where I educated kids all about the human body and internal organs. It was amazing to see their excited faces and ask so many questions.

What is your favorite part about the work that you do?

Hailey: I love the cradle-to-grave mindset in product design where you get to work on a product in the virtual 3D CAD world and then get to see the part physically built. PFF has given me a lot of opportunities to see this process and improve how I design parts going forward.

Megan: I like collecting data in the motion capture studio and getting to meet our participants that come in!

Danielle: My favorite part of my job is getting a new software feature to validate and having to create a new test suite to make sure all functions are tested correctly. It really makes me think outside the box.

What did you study in college?

Hailey: I studied Mechanical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York with an immersion in Communication.

Megan: I studied Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Danielle: I studied Computer Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Do you have any role models/mentors that are fellow women in science?

Hailey: Yes, during my college internships there were two women who were instrumental role models for me. One was a Mechanical Engineer who was the manager of one of the arc furnaces in a foundry environment. She taught me the ropes of navigating a manufacturing floor and also the respect you earn with a great work ethic. The second mentor I had was in an investment casting facility where I learned first hand the importance of communication with different teams and departments. I also learned that there is no such thing as a perfect part, there are simply parts that meet the print.

Megan: One of my biggest role models/mentors in science has been Karen Troy, a professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I worked in her Musculoskeletal research lab throughout college and she taught me so much about biomechanics, research and helped guide me early in my engineering career. 

Danielle: I really looked up to Amelia Earhart. The fact that she was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic is inspiring to me.

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