Featured Super Heroine: Brittney Johnson

genekranzTell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a Super Heroine.

I am a Michigan native – I was born there and lived in southeast MI for a grand total of 21 years. I ended up following in my mom/dad/sister’s footsteps and went to the University of Michigan for undergrad and grad school (GO BLUE!!), though I am the first engineer in my family. After finishing my master’s I started working at Boeing. I bounced around a couple of cities and a few different programs until finally settling in St. Louis in our R&D group. Being a transplant to STL, I didn’t know many people here, so I joined Super Heroines to meet like-minded ladies who really know how to enjoy “nerdy” things in life!


You’re an engineer, what drew you to that field?

I am a problem solver by nature, I like to figure out the “why”s and the “how”s of things, from Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion to helping a friend interpret what that text really means. Engineering appeals to me because it is problem solving with technology, providing the link between scientific discoveries and the practical applications that benefit our daily activities. I ended up studying aerospace engineering in particular because flying/tumbling through space are practically the only forms of locomotion that humans cannot participate in without the interference of technology. Plus, space is awesome <==={~~ [that’s a rocket]


As we talk about on our site and at some of our programming, women are underrepresented in STEM fields. Have you noticed more women getting into engineering?

Actually yes! My current work group is around 25% women, most of whom are under 35. There really is no valid reason why women should be hesitant about or intimidated by STEM careers, so I fully expect that that percentage will continue to grow in the years to come.


ravenclaw_orlandoYou have been a Super Heroine for a few years now and attended quite a few events. Which one has been your favorite and why?

I love the Craft and Crabs. The women of SHE are so diverse that the conversations we have at those events tend to be both fascinating and informative. Plus, I have personally found that I always seem to have that one project that has been in progress for months and months, and it’s so great for me to have that dedicated crafting time set aside where I can’t distract myself and say “well, I could do a few more rows on this scarf, or I could continue to binge watch Parks and Rec instead…”. A very close second for my favorite event would be the Nerdy Noms dinners we did a few years back. The two I went to were Harry Potter and Firefly, and it was pretty epic to sit around and hardcore geekout about two of my favorite fandoms. Btw can we bring those back??


What are your TOP five nerdy interests?

The pinnacle of my nerdiness is my dedication to being a fangirl – I immerse myself in the things that make me happy/excited, and I can go into dissertation-level discussions about Harry Potter!! I’m also really into museums, I love doing trivia, and I’m an avid knitter. I also have the great privilege of being a volunteer at the St Louis Science Center, where I get to spend my weekends playing make-believe astronomer as a star guide for Planetarium shows!


This month’s theme is Be a Friend. It’s so hard to find friends after college and particularly after you move to a new city or state. You’re a transplant to the area, what has been your experience being new to St. Louis and trying to make friends?

Coming to St. Louis was actually my second big move; my first move was to Phoenix AZ. When I moved out to AZ I didn’t know anyone at all, so I joined the new-hire group at work and made a bunch of new friends. I also met a lot of people by volunteering on weekends at the Arizona Science Center. When it came time to move to STL I basically repeated that original strategy – make friends at work and volunteer at the Science Center (as they say, if it’s not broke don’t fix it!). However, this time I did make an additional effort to get out and meet new people by joining Super Heroines and a couple other Meetup groups.


astronautWhat advice do you have for women who are looking to make new friends whether after college, or moving, or just starting a different stage in their lives?

Get active in your community and join plenty of groups. I’ve met a ton of people through volunteering, both at the Science Center and through Boeing outreach programs. And I’ve also made some really great friends through Super Heroines. But the more important advice I can offer is DON’T BE SHY!!! I’ve found that making friends becomes very organic and effortless if you approach every event with a positive attitude expecting that you will make friends. People tend to be pretty awesome when you give them a chance 😀

Author: Carolyn Noe

Carolyn is the Founder & Executive Director of Super Heroines, Etc. She is a recent transplant to Cincinnati and lives with her husband and her dog. She regularly nerds out about Parks & Rec, Firefly, and Pride & Prejudice.


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