The First Time I Discovered the Power of Engineering

Hi, my name is Karolyn Evans and I’m an Aerospace engineer and currently work for Lockheed Martin in their Space Systems division in Littleton, Colo. 

I remember the very first time I discovered the power of engineering—June 27, 1982…  I was five years old and living in Florida. I was struck by the roar of the Space Shuttle Columbia as it lifted off of Cape Kennedy launch site 39-A. From that moment on I knew I wanted to be an engineer.

My dream was like many people who watched the space shuttle lift off the launch pad or the roar of the rockets of the Space Race. I dreamt about going to space.  

Yet when I was studying engineering, I learned that engineering was more than just going to space.  I learned about the unlimited potential of engineering and started dreaming about how engineers might one day help cure cancer, AIDS, the common cold, or how space and medical engineering applications combined might help find cures for diseases using micro gravity research, nano technology, or robotics. I learned how engineering could help solve our nation’s energy challenges.  From increased efficiencies which decrease our overall energy consumption to developing new energy technologies such as fuel cells, nuclear, wind, and solar power.   I learned how engineering helps predict the weather and climate change and I knew that engineering is what I wanted to do.  Today, when I see hybrid cars using fuel cell technology from the space program or listen to local news meteorologists accurately predict the weather, I see first-hand how the programs I have worked on have already changed dreams into reality.

Perhaps more importantly, I see engineers turning dreams into reality by helping and inspiring the next generation to dream big.  Every other week throughout the school year in Denver, I have the privilege of helping to run an extracurricular Engineering Exploring group where students above the age of 14 learn about engineering principles from Lockheed Martin volunteers and mentors. As an engineer at Lockheed Martin, I take pride in upholding our company’s long-standing tradition of promoting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to K-12 students. When I’m working on a program that is going to send a spacecraft to Mars, I want to share that thrill and sense of exploration with the next generation.    

Did you know that we are learning more about the Earth’s atmosphere by studying the atmosphere on Mars?  Did you know that Lockheed Martin partners with local research universities and those college students have the opportunity to help build real spacecraft instruments? Did you know that that Lockheed Martin built a spacecraft that is going to explore Jupiter’s atmosphere? Engineers drive innovation.  Engineers invented toothpaste, radial belted tires, energy efficient light bulbs, duct tape, MRI machines, and even WD40!     

At Lockheed Martin, we are literally working and developing technologies and innovations on hundreds of programs.  I challenge each person reading today to go to www.lockheedmartin.com to learn more about one or two of these programs.  I promise you’ll learn something.  And who knows…  the technology being developed for one of these  programs could literally change the world.    

If you‘re interested in learning more about the Lockheed Martin Engineering Exploring Post (STEM program) visit us at www.engpost.org

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Karolyn Evans
Lockheed Martin Corporation, Space Systems

I remember the very first time I discovered the power of engineering ... I was five years old ... I was struck by the roar of the Space Shuttle Columbia as it lifted off of Cape Kennedy launch site 39-A. From that moment on I knew I wanted to be an engineer.