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SWE Diverse Podcast Ep 248: From Chemical Engineer to Science Superheroine With Tamara Robertson

Engineer, TV host and STEM advocate Tamara Robertson (she/her) joined us on this episode of Diverse: a SWE podcast to discuss her efforts to instill hope in the next generation of tinkerers and engineers.

Engineer, TV host and STEM advocate Tamara Robertson (she/her) joined us in the WE23 Diverse Podcast Studio to discuss her efforts to instill hope in the next generation of tinkerers and engineers.

Interviewed by FY24 SWE President Alexis McKittrick (she/her), Robertson shares the story of walking away from her corporate engineering job to focus on getting more women into STEM careers.

Hear the events that led to Robertson’s role on “MythBusters,” why comic books and superhero science are natural platforms for STEM outreach, and how SWE’s Invent It. Build It. program is helping future engineers build their skills and confidence.

Listen to the episode on SWE’s websiteSpotifyApple Podcasts or on your favorite podcast platform.

Speaker: Tamara Robertson, Engineer, TV Host & STEM Advocate

Tamara Robertson with her favorite build from MythBusters, the "Dandelion of Doom"
Tamara Robertson with her favorite build from MythBusters, the “Dandelion of Doom”

Tamara Robertson is an engineer-turned-science-host working to inspire young children in the pursuit of STEM. She received her chemical & biomolecular engineering degree from N.C. State University in her home state of North Carolina.

Robertson enjoys working with kids to share the fun in superhero science. She also performs entertaining science demonstrations is passionate about speaking to kids across the nation about the exciting world of science, showcasing that where their journey started doesn’t define where it ends.

Robertson spent a decade in corporate engineering during which she was pivotal in creating women in leadership mentorship programs. She transitioned full time to outreach in hopes of inspiring more young women to pursue STEM careers. It was during this time that she was given the opportunity to battle it out for a chance to join the “MythBusters” legacy where her lifetime as a tinkerer and collector of skills landed her as the only female finalist and two-time MVP winner.

Since then, Robertson has become one of the leading female science hosts and engineers on the Science Channel, lending her talents to “Scijinks” with Johnny Galecki, “MythBusters 2.0” with Brian Louden and Jon Lung and most recently “MythBusters Jr.” with Adam Savage.

Host: Alexis McKittrick, FY24 SWE President

Alexis McKittrick headshot

Alexis McKittrick, Ph.D., a Society of Women Engineers 20-plus year and life member, has served as a volunteer leader in the organization for more than 15 years, holding roles that span all facets of the Society.

Prior to being elected president, Dr. McKittrick served as president-elect and spent two terms on SWE’s board of directors, including serving as secretary and leading the senate as speaker. Highlights from her other SWE leadership roles include chairing two committees; serving on two governance task forces; and serving as governor of the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Dr. McKittrick is currently a program manager in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office. She serves on the SWE board of directors in her personal capacity.

Prior to joining the DOE, Dr. McKittrick served as a senior researcher at the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., where she conducted nonpartisan research and analysis for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and various federal agencies. She also worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division, focusing on greenhouse gas analysis and policy for the oil and gas, chemicals, and semiconductor sectors.

Dr. McKittrick holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar.

In 2014, she was presented with the D.C. Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies’ Young Engineer of the Year Award and received SWE’s Emerging Leader Award in 2019.


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