Meet: Linda Taylor
NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
I began my career at NASA Lewis about 10 years ago,
with my first year spent as a Support Service Contractor working on the
development of test facilities. I eventually gravitated towards space
and aeronautics programs involving the development of advanced motor drive
concepts for all-electric vehicles. I currently work on various programs
involving advanced systems such as the Reusable Launch Vehicle, Shuttle,
and commercial aircraft. All programs are striving towards the development
of electric schemes to replace the hydraulic systems currently in use.
I participate in the end-to-end development from power source to
load. My other duties also include the in-house testing of motor/actuator
systems and participation in a team to develop a fuel cell/photovoltaic
Becoming an engineer was somewhat of a difficult
decision for me since my first love was computers. After working with
a system on a job for a few years, though, I decided computer science
was not for me. Working at NASA stills allows me to maintain an interest
in the area, but it is not my primary focus. My first year at Youngstown
State University opened my eyes to the wide variety of career paths available,
but it also helped to have an older brother in electrical engineering.
Through him, I was able to determine that engineering would be an exciting
adventure for me. As for NASA, one of my professors worked at Lewis during
the summer months and would talk about his assignments during the following
school year. He made NASA sound very interesting and encouraged me to
apply after graduating with a BE in Electrical Engineering. After moving
to Cleveland, I experienced some rough times "fitting in" to my
new career. I was thrown into a world of advancements far beyond what
they taught in college and wondered if I would survive the first year.
Fortunately, a senior engineer took me under his wing and helped me to
gain experience in different aspects of engineering, including program
management. I since have led a team in the development of a motor driver
for a launch vehicle application and have been program manager on a number
of different technical efforts.
Having a career in engineering has brought me into
contact with many interesting programs and individuals. There is a sense
of pride when a project is seen through to completion. Unfortunately,
many times programs are canceled due to the changing political environment,
or falling low on the priority list. For anyone interested in becoming
an engineer, I would recommend taking all the math and science courses
you can handle, and stick to your goal even if you feel you may be falling
behind. Perseverance is a sign of a good engineer.
As for when I was in school, I loved to read science
fiction, but also enjoyed a good mystery or thriller. My parents were
a big driver for higher education for me. Since I did well in math, they
pushed me towards the technical areas, which I truly appreciate. Today
I have an interesting job and live with my husband, a yellow lab, Lucky,
and a cat, Boomer. I plan to continue my work in the development of all-electric
systems, and foresee it taking me far into the future.