Engineer makes her home in Dayton
Linda Clements’ love of engineering comes out as she talks about the latest innovations in materials, her specialty field.
She excitedly pulls out rolls of wound carbon fiber – a high-strength thread used in everything from airplane wings to bicycle frames – or open-cell honeycomb structures that weigh a fraction of metals of equivalent strength. She shows them off, taking about their physical properties and applications.
Clements, who moved to Dayton from the Bay Area in October 1992, teaches introduction to engineering at Western Nevada Community College. She also owns a consulting company, writes for industry publications and administers many professional societies.
A love of engineering is her full-time job.
“I came out of aerospace, but what fascinates me is the lower-tech areas,” Clements said. “The class at WNCC is a good way to get people into engineering.
“I want to see rural kids consider engineering and bring it back to their towns. This state has a lot of engineering jobs.”
In Clements’ eight years in the Eastern Sierra, she has experienced victory and defeat. As president of the Friends of the Dayton Valley Library, she was involved in bringing a new library to that town, despite a heated battle by special interests.
On the down side, the New Year’s floods in 1997 leveled her home, a disaster from which her family has yet to fully recover. They did not have flood insurance.
Clements moved with her family from Fremont, Calif. to “get out of the rat race,” but finds herself as busy as ever. Through her and her husband’s company, C&C Technologies, the couple contract their services out. Both are doctors of engineering – they had a “department romance” at Stanford University – and have extensive knowledge of research and design, training and technical writing.
“I had both kids and I was working 80 hours a week,” she said. “I got very interested in getting out of there.”
A busy schedule is balanced with the time that she spends with her husband John Crowley and two boys, Tim, 18, and Colin, 12. Tim is a freshman at Washington State University where he studies physics and secondary education, and Colin is enrolled at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community.
Clements’ knowledge and experience in engineering is extensive.
After receiving a bachelor of science degree at Stanford, she was graduated as a master of metallurgy at the University of Pennsylvania and then made her way back to Stanford for her doctorate.
Professionally, she was a tenured professor at San Jose State University for 10 years, and worked at NASA-Aimes research center and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Now she does most of her work by e-mail and, as a woman in field traditionally dominated by men, has overcome some of those stereotypes by not revealing her sex. Sometimes her correspondence is simply signed “L. L. Clements.”
“They think I’m a man, then I will talk to them on the phone, or sign an e-mail with ‘Linda,'” she said.
She tries to bridge the sexism gap in her classroom by inviting female engineers to talk to the students. This term through WNCC, she will be teaching a class Tuesday’s from 2:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Carson High School High Tech Center.
As if her busy schedule needed more clutter, Linda and John are in the midst of starting a company that she hopes will provide engineers with new tools in producing products constructed from space-age materials.
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After a period of dry, warm weather, winter returns this week to Lake Tahoe.