Oceaneering is devoted to creating a talented, diverse, and inclusive workforce. The Women in Technology series, presented in partnership with the Oceaneering Women’s Network, highlights the women contributing to our company’s technological advances. In this series, we discover what makes their jobs rewarding and what advice they have for the next generation of engineers.


Michelle Stein is a section manager for environmental control life support systems (ECLSS) projects for the Johnson Space Center’s Engineering, Technology and Science contract (JETS). She is one of 44 Oceaneering employees working in the JETS program. In her role, she manages design projects from concept to flight.

In her position, Michelle finds it most rewarding when she mentors new engineers and project managers

“It allows me to use everything I have learned working on NASA programs for the last 25 years in new and unique ways. I also get to help my employees work on and reach their career goals.”

Michelle has had an eventful journey to her current position. When she changed her major to engineering as a college junior, the dean of the Mechanical Engineering department told her she would fail in one semester.

“That certainly motivated me to excel in my engineering classes and finish near the top of my class,” she said. “When I graduated, I was the first woman engineer to work in the sulfuric acid plant.”

She then began working in space suit development, which she continued when she came to Oceaneering.

“One of my most favorite responsibilities has been being a subject for the suit we designed at Oceaneering Space Systems,” she said. “One of the hardest design challenges is making the suit small, so our first man-rated suit was designed and built to overcome some of those challenges. The benefit of building a small suit was small humans (like me) got to test them out.”

The biggest challenge for Michelle has been balancing her career and her family responsibilities.

“Sometimes, I am on fire with both, but sometimes one has to take priority,” she said. “Some of my most difficult choices in my career were to not accept a really exciting project or position when I knew that it would be a larger commitment than I could make at that point in my life.”

Michelle credits Oceaneering for helping her grow professionally while still making time for her family.

“Over the last 11 years, Oceaneering has allowed me to work on a variety of tasks and gain increased responsibilities for projects and people,” she said. “They do all this while still allowing me to maintain a great work life balance.”

Michelle has two pieces of advice for the next generation of people considering a career in the technology field.

“Get a job during high school or college where you have to talk to people. Wait tables, work at a front desk, anywhere where you have to have short conversations with people. It is a skill not taught in engineering school, but it is the most important skill you will need to be successful – the ability to talk to and relate to all kinds of people.”

She added, “Take some business classes, like negotiation, business psychology, and economics. These have helped me enormously in my professional and personal life and these topics aren’t taught in the typical engineering curriculum.”

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