inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Joanna McKittrick

Middle School Students Touring the Lab

Happy Monday, Reigners! Meet Joanna McKittrick, professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego, Jacobs School of Engineering. This shining star from small-town Pueblo, Colorado went on to earn a Ph.D. at MIT and now resides on the sunny California coast. She is an inspiration to all young women from small towns with big dreams.

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!

san diegoI am a professor in the mechanical engineering department at the University of California, San Diego. I have a BS in mechanical engineering (U Colo), a MS in Materials Science (Northwestern U) and a PhD in materials science and engineering (MIT). I work on looking at the structure and mechanical properties (strength, Snip20160119_5ductility) of natural materials such as bones, teeth, turtle shells, dermal armors seahorse and other fish, horse hooves and animal horns and antlers. I use the information I get to create bioinspired designs using synthetic materials.

Fun fact: I started my college career as a music major.


Who is someone who inspires you? What knowledge have they imparted?

My family (especially mom) has always inspired me to be a better person and helped me reach my goals.


Graduate students (with their kids) and undergrad students testing our bio-inspired sea urchin rover at La Jolla beach

What are your favorite websites, apps, or other tech tools? (my university), (my research website), (general knowledge), (specific knowledge), (they have everything), (lots of good books to listen to), (no sense of direction)


What hashtag describes you/defines your life goals?don'tgiveup



What song makes you want to dance, gives you courage to face the day, or makes you feel strong?

Jai Ho” (from Slumdog Millionaire)

grad and undergrad students post-presentation

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?

If you study and work hard your dreams will be realized. Live by the ‘Golden Rule’ (treat others as you’d like to be treated).


Describe your ideal job.

My current one is ideal. I get to pick research topics I like, teach smart students about what I love and mentor graduate students in their research. Plus, I have a VERY flexible schedule.



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