Hana McKee has always excelled at math and science, but the skill she finds most relevant is one that can’t be taught. It’s a mindset she applies every day working in Vertical Lift—the division that produces next-generation aircraft for defense customers—and it’s a trait she is helping students nurture and grow.

It’s curiosity—and it’s how our engineers like Hana continue to advance capability and quality.

Hana works on Boeing’s future vertical lift programs in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. Her job, basically, is to be curious. She works with other engineers to ask and answer questions such as: “How can the helicopter of the future fly lower and faster? How can we revolutionize the way our customers meet future threats?”

Hana’s father served as a U.S. Navy pilot and her brother currently serves as a Navy officer. “Every single day, I’m thinking about them and the rest of our troops. They are the reason I want to build a great product; one they trust.”

Hana volunteering at a company Engineers Week school event.
Before she became a Boeing engineer, Hana didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up. She hopes to change that for today’s students by showing them how they can solve real-world problems. Here she volunteers at a company Engineers Week school event. (Boeing photo)

When not problem-solving for next-generation aircraft, Hana helps spark the curiosity of next-generation engineers in her community. Hana volunteers for Boeing-supported STEM programs, where she shows students how to apply science, technology, engineering and math skills in the real world.

“Engineering reaches every industry; it’s part of everyday life,” Hana said. “I want students to see that and realize they can use what they’re learning in science and math to ask questions and solve problems.”

“There’s nothing I like more than figuring out a way to do things we’ve never done before.”

To make that connection for students, Hana often uses aerospace as an example. She might teach a lesson about the four forces of flight—lift, weight, thrust and drag—then have students build and test paper airplanes. She’ll pose questions such as, “What happens if you add a payload (a coin) to your plane?” or “What happens if you move that payload from the middle to the back?”

The experiment shows them, in a relatable way, the types of problems she works daily to solve. She hopes her students leave their sessions with the excitement and curiosity required to move the world forward through engineering.

“There’s nothing I like more than figuring out a way to do things we’ve never done before,” Hana said. “That’s what I want the next generation of engineers to feel every day.”