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.
Angela (on the right) doing a demonstration
Name: Angela Moran
Place of Employment: just retired, U.S. Naval
Academy, now supporting MD schools through
Engineers on Deck
Job Title: Engineer, Engineering Professor
What is your specific job in STEM? How would you describe this job to young women and girls?
As a Materials and Manufacturing Engineer and Engineering Educator, I have made it a primary goal to support girls and women in engineering academic paths and STEM careers by providing camps, workshops, and internships specifically for them.
What types of obstacles have you overcome in your career?
There can be a number of obstacles to a STEM career, but I like to look at them as challenges. Coursework can be very difficult , education costs can be overwhelming, breaking into established groups and institutions can be intimidating. The biggest hurdle is staying true to yourself and your aspirations despite contradictory or negative advice. Pushing yourself to not just look for opportunities but to take chances. Try new things, forget what your friends may say. To my college self, don’t be afraid to fail. When you fall the fastest and the hardest, you learn the most but only if you are willing to do so. Don’t blame others, you are responsible for your actions and your failures. Be sure to thank those who contributed to your successes. Seize opportunities even when your heart is pounding, and you are afraid to do so
When did you first get interested in STEM?
I have loved math and science since grade school. I grew up with five terrific brothers who were tough on me, but treated me as an equal. My parents insisted I could be whatever I wanted to be. I reveled in fixing things, mixing concrete, doing projects with my dad, a civil engineer. For vacations, we went to see dams and tunnels, so technology was appreciated. I like to build stuff, but I also really like to figure out why things break. My husband of many years is a natural educator and scientist, challenges me every day, and I have had the privilege of interacting with him professionally as we are both materials engineers. The interest has never waned.
What advice (big or little) would you give to a young woman or girl who might be interested in pursuing a career in STEM?
First, learn more about what scientists and engineers do, especially how they make the world a better place through their work. You should realize that engineering and technology touch every aspect of our lives — our cars, our food, electronic devices, environment, and infrastructure. Challenge yourself and take the tough classes. If you like math and science, you are off to a great start, but you need to develop other qualities as well, engineers do need to solve problems and learn how things work, but they also need to be creative, resourceful, good communicators, and team players.
What is the coolest thing that has happened while being involved (volunteering or mentoring) with FIRST?
Every time I attend a FIRST competition (we hosted regionals at USNA), the energy from the teams would be electrifying and would make me want to get more kids involved.