Samantha Orlando

Lillington, NC, US
Field of Work 
Job Title or "Student" 
Process Engineer
Rochester Institute of Technology
Mechanical Engineering
Education Level 
Profile Biography 
Hello! My name is Samantha Orlando. I am a mechanical engineer and I live and work in North Carolina with my husband and our two dogs.

I have known for a very long time that I had wanted to become an engineer but I didn't start out that way. From a young age, I had thought maybe I would enjoy teaching. Then my family went on a trip to Disney World and we went to an exhibit where we got to dig up dinosaur bones and I thought paleontology sounded fun.

It wasn't until I had taken a class in astronomy the summer before going into middle school that I found my excitement for engineering. During the class, we spent hours and hours looking at stars and constellations and at the end of the class, we took a field trip to a local museum.

At the museum, NASA had sponsored an exhibit that was setup to recreate the space station in Houston as well as the inside of a space shuttle. I had the opportunity to try out the controls at the control center but then when we got to the space shuttle, my "job" was to bring in a space probe from outer space, repair it, and send it back out. I thought that was the coolest "job" I had ever done and I realized I wanted to do something like that when I grew up!

As soon as I got home, I looked up what kind of job could do something like that as a career. What came up was an aerospace engineer. I had no idea what that was but I had heard of engineer before. I didn't know any engineers growing up, but I had remembered that the exhibit at the museum was sponsored by NASA.

I went to NASAs website and found someone to contact. I wrote an email with who I was, how old I was, and that I wanted to become an engineer when I grew up, asking what my next steps were. That person actually emailed me back! They told me to do well in school, try hard in math and science classes, and take any advanced placement classes if I could.

That seemed easy enough, I loved math and science! I actually wrote down their instructions and tried to follow that in middle and high school until graduation. When I was looking at different colleges to attend, I realized I became more interested in mechanical engineering because they touch on a lot of other topics, not just aerospace. Mechanical engineers can work in so many different areas and on so many different things such as vehicles, robotics (and in aerospace).

I attended the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York where I applied for and was accepted into a dual degree program. This meant that I received my bachelor's and masters in mechanical engineering.

I got married while in school and my husband was in the Army, stationed at Fort Bragg so that brought me to North Carolina where I work now. I work in a manufacturing environment as a process engineer. I am responsible for keeping our production lines running while trying to also make improvements and try out new ideas. It is a fast-paced and challenging environment and definitely keeps me going!

What I love about engineering is that it is more than just liking or being good at math and science. It is about problem solving. It is about thinking of ideas and envisioning something in your head and making it happen. It is about wanting to improve something and finding the solution to do so. You get to be creative and innovative and enjoy what you are working on.

Outside of work, I love going to a local state park with our dogs and going on nice, long hikes. I also enjoy cooking, tasting new food, and trying to make new recipes at home. With my job, I am very fortunate that I get the opportunity to travel to different countries so I am always looking to taste new foods!
Pets, Travel, Sports
Race & Ethnicity 
Level of Participation 
My Experience 
I am a new Role Model.
No Preference
Fun demonstrations or materials, Hands-on activities for students
Program Affiliation 
Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
Other Level of Participation 
Invent It. Build It. Event at the SWE Conference

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