Paula Marie Countouris
Paula Marie Countouris started working at Lincoln Laboratory in 2012, right out of her undergraduate studies at MIT. After working for four years as a mechanical engineer, she decided she wanted to go back to school for her master's degree. Because of the Lincoln Scholars program, she didn't need to leave her job to do it; she even received funding through Lincoln Laboratory.
Countouris pursued a master's degree in mechanical engineering at MIT while still contributing to projects at the Laboratory, often working on the very same types of technology. Flexures, for instance, are an important component in precision machine design that allows accurate and repeatable motion through bending of compliant elements. Countouris worked to define a framework within which existing tools may be used to better design flexures, and leveraged previous projects and experiences from Lincoln Laboratory to complete her research. At the same time that she was researching precision mechanism design on campus, Countouris was designing, building, and testing mechanisms for satellites at the Laboratory.
Countouris graduated from MIT and the Lincoln Scholars program in 2018. She's now back at the Laboratory full time and applying the skills that she learned to projects ranging from space mechanisms and unmanned aerial vehicles to biosensors and laser systems. Even though she's no longer in school, Countouris can rely on a wide range of projects at the Laboratory and supportive coworkers with diverse sets of skills to keep expanding her education.