Christine Mooth isn’t your average mechanical engineering student. She’s a junior pursuing a career in robotic prosthetics, working as the first female employee at the mechanical engineering projects lab, all while raising an energetic, two-year-old son.
Her drive and active involvement in her studies earned her the 2016 Student Development Award at the Women Tech Council's ninth annual Women Tech Awards last Thursday.
The council recognized seven outstanding women working or pursuing careers in the STEM fields, who are driving innovation and excelling in their contributions to technology.
Mooth has been interested in engineering even before she started her undergraduate program. In high school, she was nominated for the International Science Fair for her work on automatic collision avoidance systems for automobiles. Now, Mooth volunteers her time and experience at every opportunity--she was the lead machinist on the BYU Mars Rover team for three years. Mooth has also made movie-grade costumes, props, and a flying-wing RC airplane.
After she graduates, Mooth plans to use her skills to make robotic prosthetics.
“I want to make life-changing devices for people who have gone through traumatic or disabling events so they can have use of their limbs again and improve their quality of life,” Mooth said.
Being one of few women in her major, Mooth says people often question her decision to study mechanical engineering.
“It can be discouraging, but I actually use it as a fuel,” Mooth says. “It just means I’m trailblazing and I’m able to make it a little easier for the next person. Thinking about that gives me the energy to continue moving forward."
In her work at the mechanical engineering projects lab, Mooth plays a pivotal role helping other students with building their projects.
“Christine consistently reaches outside herself,” wrote Carl Sorensen, professor of mechanical engineering, in his letter to the Women Tech Council nominating committee. “She is known for helping students on manufacturing projects even outside of her work hours.”
For Mooth, the award was significant.
“It was so big for me to see that what I’ve been doing has been inspirational to somebody and has made a difference,” she said.