Designing Woman

At Haverford Senior High, in a suburb of Philadelphia, Caroline Lowndes, ENG ’18, spent Friday nights rooting for her school’s team as part of the cheerleading squad. At Temple, she cheered for the Owls. Now, what the mechanical engineering major remembers most about her time at Temple is all the people who cheered for her

Caroline Lowndes leaning against a railing.
Photo credit: Pamela Palma

A team player

Majoring in engineering was her goal from the start. Lowndes was originally focused on bioengineering, but after taking a first-semester class called Introduction to Engineering—a sort of sampler of engineering disciplines—she transferred to mechanical engineering.

“I realized I didn’t want to be in a lab for the rest of my life,” she said. The courses she took in engineering dynamics, mechanics of solids, and machine theory and design all confirmed she’d made the right choice.

For her senior design project, Lowndes worked with teammates to fabricate a device to keep brain trauma patients safe and comfortable in hospital beds. The group placed in the top three in the senior design competition, which underscored something Lowndes had already figured out—that she thrives working collaboratively on interdisciplinary teams.

“It was a good taste of real-world experience,” Lowndes said of the project, “and it helped contribute to my professional career decisions.”

On the road

In 2016, Lowndes attended a Society of Women Engineers conference in Philadelphia and landed her first internship at General Electric’s Automation and Controls headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Then, during the summer of 2018, she earned a coveted internship at Tesla. Working in the company’s Fremont, California, location, she helped design more efficient internal manufacturing processes for the Model S, Model 3 and Roadster electric vehicles. 

Living in California and working in the tech industry set the stage for Lowndes’s first postgraduate job, as technical program manager at Amazon’s Lab126 in Sunnyvale, California, developing hardware devices like Fire TVs, Echos, e-readers and other gadgets.

Caroline at a glance

Driving her destiny

In her current position, Lowndes works with product managers, engineering, operations and software teams to ensure the right tradeoffs are made to deliver the right product to customers. “It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s exciting,” she said. “I get to be involved in every aspect of the overall product development from the beginning to end.”

Lowndes hopes to advance at Lab126, working creatively on cross-functional teams and pursuing new ways to grow.

“There’s so much they expose you to at this company,” she said. “It’s similar to Temple in that sense. There’s just so much to learn here.”

—By Emily Kovach and Dutch Godshalk