My Engineer’s Notebook: Bridget Knight Brown
ASME member Bridget Knight Brown, P.E., is a member of the 2015-2016 class of the ASME Early Career Leadership Intern Program to Serve Engineering (ECLIPSE) program. ECLIPSE offers early career engineers the opportunity to further their professional and volunteer development by working alongside senior-level ASME officers from the Society’s various units. Bridget, who is currently serving as an ECLIPSE intern with ASME’s Technical Events and Content (TEC) Sector, is an energy budget analyst at Southern Company Services in Birmingham, Ala. Before accepting that position in 2013, she served for two years at the company as an in-service testing program owner, overseeing the in-service testing of pumps and valves for Southern Company’s three nuclear plants. During that time she also served as a member of ASME’s New Reactors Operations and Maintenance Committee Task Group. Prior to joining Southern Company, Bridget worked for seven years at United Space Alliance as staff engineer, eventually serving several of those years as a flight controller performing day-of-launch support for the NASA Space Shuttle program. She received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Mississippi in 2004, and an M.B.A. from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2007. She is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Texas.
What’s inside your engineer’s notebook?
The most important things in my notebook are notes where I have recapped how I solved an issue. I have learned that, nine times out of ten, the same or a similar issue will come up sometime in the future. It is always a relief to think “been there, done that,” pull out my notes, and quickly tackle that repeat problem.
Whose notebook would you most like to peek into? Why?
I would like to peek into the notebook of a good computer programmer. It’s always good to have a stash of great source code to synthesize large amounts of data so that I can get to the fun part — analyzing.
How and when did you know you wanted to become an engineer?
A family friend encouraged me to be a mechanical engineer. I made the final decision in high school. I thought that it would best fit my love of challenges and applying math. Engineering was a hot topic amongst my fellow classmates. A lot of us looked forward to majoring in engineering.
What's the most exciting project you've ever worked on?
My most exciting project was supporting the launch of Space Shuttle mission STS-125, which serviced the Hubble Space Telescope. All of us who worked on the project understood that this was a very unique mission and focused on every piece of input. As I viewed the launch from one of the big screens in the Mission Control Center, I was practically holding my breath. STS-125 was a success that we all were very proud of.
What do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t become an engineer?
If I had not become an engineer, I would have aimed to be a teacher. I would be proving to students that math and science are not difficult, mysterious subjects. I would let them know that making contributions in engineering is a great way to leave a legacy that will enable people to live more efficiently and safely.
What’s your favorite activity when you’re not working?
My hobby is genealogy. I am the historian for my dad’s side of the family. So far, we’ve traced our ancestors back to 1799. This accounts for approximately 500 family members.
Was there a book or a movie that piqued your interest in science or inspired you to become an engineer?
All of my math textbooks inspired me to become an engineer. My math books did not get much locker time; I didn’t mind carrying them wherever I went.
Who are your heroes, either within the engineering profession or in the rest of your life?
My heroes are my family. Their genuine support in all aspects of my life means the world to me. The things that they do in their careers and personal lives encourage me to continue striving to do more and more.
What’s the most meaningful or rewarding aspect of being connected to engineering?
My connection to engineering provides an avenue to improve the quality of life and to protect society. My engineering career has allowed to me to take part in meaningful projects such as simulating the economic generation of electricity for years to come, ensuring that pumps and valves in nuclear plants are tested in a manner that safeguards the public, and ensuring that space shuttle launches were safe for the crew.
What does ASME mean to you?
I am proud to be a part of the camaraderie of ASME. ASME is an organization where I both learn from others and share my experiences. I gain valuable insights every time I attend an ASME event. Everyone eagerly shares knowledge and perspectives, which I later use to resolve issues in my everyday work life. I enjoy working with fellow ASME members whose goals are to solve engineering problems around the world and to encourage the development of future engineers who will do the same.
I am proud to be a part of the camaraderie of ASME. … I enjoy working with fellow ASME members whose goals are to solve engineering problems around the world and to encourage the development of future engineers who will do the same.Bridget Knight Brown