Anna-Maria McGowan assures a flight-phobic comedian that air travel is the safest mode of transportation
Anna-Maria R. McGowan works on designing cutting-edge technology for air vehicles of the future as project manager for NASA’s Morphing Project.
Instead of building actual airplanes, McGowan is working on futuristic technologies such as active materials for aircraft structures or wings that can change shape on command.
Interested in airplanes since the age of 12, McGowan originally wanted to be a pilot but found that she was more fascinated by actually designing planes.
Now, McGowan loves her job, as she is the first to test out new technologies and is able to influence the future of flight with her work.
Her advice for aspiring engineers is to take lots of math and science classes, get good grades, participate in extracurricular activities, and meet engineers in one’s field of interest. Despite her male-dominated discipline’s nerdy reputation, McGowan wants students to know that engineering, and what engineers do, is actually really cool.
See McGowan explain why flying is actually a very safe mode of transportation, and how NASA helps make it so (her segment begins around 18:00):
Hear McGowan’s inspirational talk from TEDxNASA: