Grit & Grace: Ariana McDonough

“I have always enjoyed working with my hands. Growing up in Hawaii, this manifested itself in sewing, cooking, photography and other “hands on” hobbies. I was involved in 4-H growing up and always curious as to how things worked. For me, being an engineer is an extension of who I am and what I love to do. Engineers essentially create things to help others around the world. For me, this is helping to design, build and test jet and helicopter engines. I heard that every two seconds an aircraft powered by my company’s technology takes off somewhere in the world. It is amazing that I can be a part of that.

It is sometimes hard to be in a “man’s world”. Currently less than 15% of engineers are women. I am almost always the only woman sitting at the table at my work meetings. I am proud to be a woman in my field and to help forge the way for upcoming women engineers. I know I am fortunate to have stepped out of the engineering workforce for 13 years to raise my 4 children (now ages 23, 21, 19 and 16), live overseas and return to a fulfilling, challenging job, and to do be able to do it part-time! I make it a point to share my story with younger women engineers and mentor them to show that they do not necessarily have to follow the traditional career path. They just need to find what fits for them, be creative and forge their own way.

Ultimately, my worth is in who God made me. It is not in what I do. We are not defined by our outward accomplishments but who we are inside and have been created to be.”

Ariana is the Senior Engineer, Engine Systems Design and Integration; Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE) Program Lead, Military Technology Programs, GE Aviation