Woman leads double-life as engineer, pro-hockey player

March 09, 2017 08:02 PM

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too? An area woman is doing both living a double life and she’s making history doing it.

Ashley Johnston is an example of what can happen when you get females excited about STEM -- science technology, engineering and math.

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"I went to Union College. I graduated from there in 2014 with a mechanical engineering degree. I originally went in planning to do neuroscience and wanting to go to med school. After my first semester, I kind of realized that I really enjoyed designing things, building things," she recalled.

Today, this 24-year old leads a robotics team at Precision Valve and Automation in Cohoes making robots that paint circuit boards for companies like apple.

"A company will come to us and say we have this process and we need the circuit board to be coated with this material for this reason and we make it happen," she explained. "I think there’s a lot more opportunities for females in the STEM field in general. It’s not just a male-dominated field anymore."

Johnston actually has two loves, her job as an engineer, but also as a professional hockey player.

She's a defenseman in the newly formed National Women's Hockey League.

After playing for Union College, she thought her time on the ice was over. However, nearly two years ago she made the cut for the New York Riveters.

"You’ve got to have a little bit of hesitation like, is this real, am I really getting my hopes up because it’s something that’s never happened that everybody always wanted but it just never was there," she wondered.

There are only four teams, but the Canadian native who grew up playing hockey as a child says the league's fan base is expanding and she is loving every minute of her double life.

"It kind of hit me, 'Oh I’m a professional athlete now,'" she admitted. "When you wake up every morning happy and not only getting to do one thing that you like to do but you get to do two, that's a blessing, that's phenomenal."

WEB EXTRA: Professional hockey player Ashley Johnston on getting people to the games

More information:

New York Riveters: National Women’s Hockey League


WNYT Staff

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