A day in the life of Kaylie Crosby consists of morning workouts, lunch at her favorite restaurant SweetGreen Cafe, afternoon walks by many of the nation’s most prestigious monuments and, last but certainly not least, work.
Crosby works as a systems engineer for Entegra Systems based in Hanover, Maryland. Entegra designs, develops and deploys advanced technology and performs critical analytical roles to support our nation’s most important intelligence missions.
According to Crosby, her current role at the company is to “manage training programs focused on enhancing Entegra’s analytic tradecraft and scenario building in support of research models for an IC client.” She also said that, between analytical projects, “I’ve had a hand in recruiting for the company and strengthening our online footprint.”
Before graduating from The University of Alabama in May 2016, Crosby served as the UA EcoCAR 3 Team’s project manager for two years. She said that “participating in EcoCAR 3 prepared me for my current role in numerous ways, and provided me with skills and lessons that I utilize in the workplace every day.”
Crosby said that it was clear early on that the EcoCAR 3 project was going to teach her a lot about herself and her environment. At the beginning of the project, she started a journal where she took note of these skills and lessons, as well as quotes she read along the way that inspired her to push forward.
Of course she has in no way mastered any of these skills or lessons, but is thankful that EcoCAR 3 opened her eyes to opportunities for growth. One of the lessons she learned was a quote from film director James Cameron: “Don’t put limitations on yourself. Other people will do that for you.”
“Always have confidence in yourself and your abilities,” Crosby said. “This allows you to push forward toward your goals and see the ultimate value of your contributions.”
“The EcoCAR 3 project built a confidence in myself that I had never seen before,” Crosby said. “I am thankful to carry this into my future career.”
Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions are important for students who want to pursue STEM careers like Crosby because students get hands-on experience that isn’t taught in text books. AVTCs enable students to work on challenging manufacturing technologies to maintain US competitiveness when they become future industry leaders.
“Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions are valuable no matter what career students choose to pursue,” Crosby said.
Crosby added there are many other important lessons and skills that she has learned over the years and ones that she continues to learn from every day. One of these lessons is to never be afraid to ask for help, and ask questions. Vulnerability, she explained, does not have to be a sign of weakness.
“The EcoCAR 3 project was greater than anything I had ever taken part of, and it required me to ask many questions and seek the support of our other leaders, team members, and faculty,” Crosby said.
EcoCAR 3 has also provided Crosby with an incredible network of other successful and motivated students who will no doubt be industry leaders in their fields.
Crosby also agrees heartily with this quote from Roz Savage: “The bigger the challenge, the bigger the sense of accomplishment when you get to the end of it.” As a new school in the EcoCAR 3 competition during fall of 2014, The University of Alabama charged through this challenge head on and went from 11th overall to 4th overall following the Year 2 competition. The ability to now look back and visualize this success has encouraged Crosby to press on when the steps ahead seem overwhelming and impossible. This lesson has followed Crosby into the workplace and provided her with the motivation to conquer new challenges. Nothing that is truly worth doing is ever easy, she said.
“With such a large and interdisciplinary team, the EcoCAR 3 project taught me the value in relaying information to different groups in different ways,” Crosby said. “As a leader on a large interdisciplinary team, it’s crucial to understand your audience and why they may be interested in the information you are providing.”
“The projects we are working on must be communicated to different stakeholders in different ways, and just the same, we must understand our audience and their motivations,” Crosby said.
“I am a self-proclaimed people-pleaser and quickly found through the EcoCAR 3 project how difficult this makes things. It’s impossible to please everyone,” Crosby said. She add that it’s important to work with those around you to set priorities and work within a defined, agreed-upon scope.
Crosby specified just how much she learned about herself as a whole from being a part of EcoCAR 3 at the University of Alabama. She emphasized how important it is to work with those around you to set priorities for your work.