We are enthused to bring you an installment of the "Women in STEM Spotlight Series Sponsored by Leidos." This series highlights women involved in the FIRST community in DC, Maryland and Virginia who are an inspiration for our program's young women and girls.
Name: Katherine Dougan
Place of Employment: Northrop Grumman
Job Title: Manager, Logistics & Product
Support Systems Engineering
What is your specific job in STEM? How would you describe this job to young women and girls?
I manage a group of engineers who perform analyses to support the products that Northrop designs and engineers for our customers.
What is the coolest thing about your job?
Initially, after graduating with a Chemical Engineering degree, I worked as a Field/Technical Service engineer for an oil company. I was interested in the position because it offered a training program and worldwide travel – at a time when I had very few responsibilities other than to myself. I spent 4 years living and working in Italy, Romania, the UK, California, and the Gulf Coast. Working in different cultures, on construction sites, and working with people much more senior than I, gave me opportunities and challenges which contributed to building self-confidence and to improving my communication skills. When not working I took every opportunity to experience the country, food, people, and local events.
In my more recent work at Northrop Grumman, I have been up on flight tests of our sensor systems which got me away from my desk! I have been a Program Manager and most recently manage a group of engineers that support various programs. I enjoy the opportunities I have now to contribute to the growth and career development of our engineers.
What are some of the cool things that people in your profession work on?
Chemical & Process Engineering are used in many different industries. Some of us went into the oil and chemical industry, others went into the cosmetics and perfume industry, consumer products (e.g., soap, detergents) industry, art restoration, and even the winemaking and beer brewing industries. My career has taken me away from my Chemical Engineering degree but I have continued in engineering and management.
Don’t limit your thinking about future possibilities in the use of your skills. Engineering is really about applying critical thinking to solve problems.