Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2018
McNeese State University, Mechanical Engineering, '19
Host Institution: Mojave Air and Space Port
Mentor: Michelle Murray
Kristen Lemaire is a 2012 graduate of Louisiana State University, from which she holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness. Though she always felt a strong pull to a career in STEM, she worked several jobs to put herself through school and, as a result, put her dreams of a career in engineering on the backburner due to her life circumstances. Upon her graduation from LSU, she married and had two wonderful sons, but never gave up her dreams of a career in the aeronautics industry. At the age of 25, Kristen decided it was time to return to school to pursue her career in STEM and to make her dream of a career in the aerospace industry a reality.
Kristen graduated from McNeese State University with her second undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. During her time at McNeese, Kristen worked as a Mechanical Engineering Intern in Capital Projects at Firestone Polymers. During her time at Firestone, she worked as a Project Engineer, managing industrial projects in their entirety from scope through installation. She was also selected as Project Manager to lead a team of undergraduate students selected by the Louisiana Aerospace Catalyst Experience for Students (LAACES). Throughout her years with LAACES, Kristen managed two Long Range Radio Transmission payloads launched at a NOAA facility via scientific balloons.
Kristen is a strong believer in the need for female leadership and economic diversity in the STEM fields She volunteers her time to encourage young students, especially girls or those who may not be exposed to STEM or Space due to their financial circumstances. She was chosen as 1 of 10 students across all engineering disciplines in her university to work with the Dean of Engineering to create an outreach program designed for this purpose. As a result of this program, she and 10 other students, called Engineering Ambassadors, create lessons and teach them at local elementary schools for students to engage them in STEM-related subject matter. They also met teachers for planning hours to help them research STEM-related subjects and answer questions to supplement their lesson plans.
As a Brooke Owens Fellow, Kristen interned at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. While at Mojave she was able to observe powered test flights, assist in the completion of operations work projects, and perform data coding projects while directly reporting to the CEO of MASP. While at MASP, she attended the National Flight School’s flight camp and the 2018 Space Frontier Foundation’s Newspace Conference in Seattle, Washington.
During her time with the Brooke Owens Fellowship, Kristen was honored to meet and get to know so many strong women in the aerospace industry, both mentors and her fellow Brookies. This experience showed her the importance of women in STEM fields, and the need for women to work together to pave the way for those who will come after. She hopes that her non-traditional path towards her goals will be an example to other women, as well as her two sons, that is never too late to relentlessly follow your dreams.
Kristen is now a Systems Engineer at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in El Segundo and got accepted to the Johns Hopkins University’s Space Systems Engineering Master's Program.