DIVERSITY PROFILE - AMY WALSH
“I talk to students about engineering every chance I get,” said Amy Walsh, principal engineer.
Walsh knows first-hand how important it is to have a role model. In high school, she was convinced she wanted to be an architect until her science teacher signed her up for the four-day Honors Institute at the University of Colorado.
“It was an eye opener. Afterward, I realized that engineering – with its core of math, science, and getting to the one, correct answer – sounded exactly like ‘me,’” she said.
Active in the Society of Women Engineers since college and various education-outreach activities such as Colorado Project ASTRO-GEO, she tells young women interested in engineering to “never give up.”
“You might find all kinds of obstacles out there, but use your problem-solving strengths to work through them,” said Walsh.
Walsh is not only a strong proponent of motivating students, she’s one of Ball Aerospace’s key problem solvers, and has achieved national acclaim for her work.
Women in Aerospace honored Walsh with an outstanding achievement award for her work on Ball Aerospace’s Deep Impact program.
“It was fantastic to be nominated for a national-level award. There were many award categories and lots of high-powered women nominated for them. It was wonderful just to be considered as part of their group,” Walsh said.
You could say she’s an over-achiever, but she attributes her success to Ball Aerospace’s inclusive workplace.
Everyone at Ball Aerospace helps each other while respecting and appreciating each others’ differences, she said. “We all pitch in on every project, and we even help each other let off steam. I work with a really competent, dedicated group of people.”
The nature of her job relies on collaboration, and she cites Deep Impact, a program she worked on for more than five years as her favorite program.
The Deep Impact spacecraft accomplished its remarkable goal of colliding with comet 9P/Tempel 1 nearly 83 million miles from Earth and excavating material from the comet for scientific study.
Even though she was tasked with working on the spacecraft avionics, Walsh paid attention to the other subsystems on the Deep Impact program. “I knew the telecom lingo from past work,” she said, so she was able to help others on the program speak the same language to collaborate in the best way possible.
Her technical versatility, coupled with the company’s dedication to inclusiveness, has allowed Walsh to perform in multiple roles on a variety of programs, from space instruments like the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite to spacecraft such as Deep Impact and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer, to activity lead/flight director work on DINET, a delay tolerant networking project being tested on the EPOXI spacecraft.“I was able to step right in and start contributing,” she said.
All in all, for Walsh, “getting to the heart of engineering problems” is the most gratifying thing about her work. “It’s the best reward for a job well done.”