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  • Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2017

  • Texas Tech University, Electrical Engineering, ‘19

  • Host Institution: HawkEye 360

  • Mentor: Erika Wagner

Karen Rucker is now a full-time RF Engineer at Ball Aerospace in Colorado. She graduated magna cum laude from Texas Tech University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2019. She was a nontraditional student who returned to school after finding herself unchallenged in her job as a secretary at the age of 26.

From 2014 to 2016, Karen worked full-time answering 911 as a police dispatcher at night while going to school full-time during the day. After being the first woman to graduate with an Associate’s degree in Electrical Engineering from McLennan Community College, she enrolled at Texas Tech University. There, she was a leader with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), involved with Women in Engineering and the Society of Women Engineers, and worked as a student researcher in the TTU Microwave Laboratory. She completed internships at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

As a 2017 Brooke Owens Fellow, Karen worked at HawkEye 360. She assisted in software-defined radio (SDR) payload test and integration, supported processing and generation of RF data within GNU Radio and developed Python scripts for digital signal processing (DSP), most notably a cell-averaging Constant False Alarm Rate (CFAR) algorithm for radar. 

In her free time Karen enjoys hiking, outreach for STEM and BOFP, and creating antenna memes on Twitter.