Women in Research: Mary Turner

March 23, 2023
Mary Turner women in research

Describe your Research Contributions or Interests. 

My role as Technical Fellow in Optical Design at Edmund Optics has three main branches. I spend most of my time working as on optical designer. I also dedicate time mentoring junior designers in various aspects of the craft. In this vein, I am provided the freedom to serve as an Adjunct at Optical Sciences, lecturing each year on subjects relating to optical design. Additionally, I have a role within the company to look at new and upcoming technologies and analyzing the possible benefit to Edmund of these technologies.

Working on optical design projects at Edmund provides an amazing opportunity to use and enhance my skills as a designer and engineer.  We all know that “optics is an enabling technology”. Much of my design work is based on this adage. Many companies are working on products that require optics, but the optics are not the primary aspect of the product. For many of these companies, it is not possible or cost effective to develop or manufacture the optical subassemblies in-house. For many of these companies, working with Edmund to design and supply the optics is the best solution. This provides me, as well as our other designers, the opportunity to work on many different design projects, covering a wide array of optical spaces from classical imaging systems for machine vision applications, imaging and non-imaging designs for laser applications, various systems on the path to autonomous driving, as well as telecommunications devices.

Who was your Most Significant Role Model in Science or in your Career?

It might sound “old fashioned”, but my most significant role model was my mother. As an elementary school teacher, she instilled the love of teaching that has been an integral part of my career. She grew up in an era where women were dissuaded from entering careers in the sciences or technology and she was instrumental in my realization that I could explore a career in engineering, all I needed was the drive and desire to succeed.

What Piece of Advice Would you Like to Pass On?

You will be working for a significant part of your lifetime: find that job that does not seem like work. When you can wake up in the morning think you “get to” rather than “have to” go to work is when you will find your life is most fulfilling. And remember, if your goals or your work environment changes, you are always able to reevaluate and make career changes.