According to an article in the New York Daily News, Jacki Birdall loved cars from the time she was 15. She enrolled in her high school’s auto shop class, but her teacher wouldn’t let her work on the cars. She pestered the manager at Pep Boys every day for two weeks until he hired her. Birdall’s persistence paid off as she is now a senior engineer at Toyota North America.
From Kate McLeod’s article on the New York Daily News website:
Jackie Birdsall’s job includes shooting a gun at hydrogen tanks in the wilderness to see if they explode. Birdsall isn’t a member of a special ops team; she is one of two senior engineers at Toyota North America charged with building the company’s hydrogen fuel cell sedan, the Mirai. She thinks putting the Mirai’s hydrogen fuel tanks to extreme tests is just one part of the best job in the world.
How did this intelligent, articulate, and vibrant 32-year-old woman ascend to such a groundbreaking engineering position? This story does not begin: “A child prodigy who designed a nuclear plant at the age of five . . .” In fact, before Birdsall went to college, she didn’t know engineering existed.