Krista Kemper pt 3: The Beautiful Overlap Between Creativity and STEM
April 18, 2024
Krista Kemper pt 3: The Beautiful Overlap Between Creativity and STEM

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work” – Emil Zola

I am back with Krista Kemper, an engineer who is challenging the misconception that creativity and technical disciplines like math and engineering are mutually exclusive. Krista shares her unique perspective on how art, design, and engineering intersect, and why the skills developed in creative pursuits are invaluable assets in STEM fields.

“There’s beauty in engineering. And when this finally clicked, I was looking at…the Mona Lisa, and I started seeing lines and angles and the geometry and the math inside the Mona Lisa.”

Krista Kemper is a professional engineer with a diverse background. She currently works as the Lead Mechanical Engineer at a prominent engineering firm, where she applies her technical expertise and creative problem-solving abilities to design innovative solutions. Krista’s passion for blending creativity and analytics is evident in both her work and personal life, from the intricate nail art she sports at industry conferences to the finite element analysis she’s conducted on acrylics.

“I love that when I don’t have anything else going on, doing my nails is my creative outlet. I’ve got 10 little canvases.”

Throughout our conversation, Krista and I explore the misconceptions around math and engineering, debunking the notion that these disciplines are purely analytical and devoid of creativity. We discuss how skills like problem-solving, spatial reasoning, and pattern recognition developed through creative hobbies can be directly applied to technical fields. Krista also shares her strategy for identifying and hiring engineers who possess a diverse skillset, highlighting the value she places on candidates with creative interests and pursuits.

“When we’re interviewing engineers, when we’re hiring people, if I’ve got two resumes that are equally qualified, the thing that’ll be the deciding factor will be if they have a creative pursuit, if they’re into something else.”

I believe this episode is perfect for anyone who has been told that they have to choose between the “creative” and “analytical” sides of their personality. Krista’s insights will inspire listeners to embrace the beautiful overlap between art and science, and to recognize the power of combining technical expertise with creative expression. 

Whether you’re an artist, an engineer, or simply someone seeking to cultivate a multifaceted approach to problem-solving, this conversation will leave you with a renewed appreciation for the transformative potential of blending left-brain and right-brain thinking.

To learn more about Krista Kemper, visit her website at Thanks again, and I love that you are here to listen to Good Life Stories.

About Krista Kemper

I am a self-taught mechanical designer. I know the theories used in engineering, can do the equations and use the software, but I’m still not an engineer. I’m a technician. As president of an engineering company, my job is to wrangle engineers and keep them grounded.

Aside from that, I’m also a combat veteran (Army), mother, and artist. I worked in IT as a QA tech many moons ago, did a year at Cornish College of the Arts, and am on the autism spectrum, late life diagnosis. Born in upstate NY, raised between WA and MA, and now living in LA…the state, not the city. I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life is to differentiate between dreams and goals. While they’re not mutually exclusive, they’re also not always one in the same. Another is that I’m not going to get to the fun part if I wait until I get over my fears. I spend a lot of time utterly terrified while I’m in the middle of doing things I’ve never done before. I’m never quite sure if I’m afraid of failure or success. My husband, Bart, and I often joke that it’s easy when things go horribly wrong, the problem is what to do if everything goes horribly *right*. That, and failure is an opportunity to learn. Data is data.

Last, My husband is also my principal engineer. I not only love him, I have a lot of respect for him. There are meme’s out there that call the relationship of Morticia and Gomez Addams “life goals” but I’m not sure most people really understands what that means, especially those who see Gomez as their version of prince charming. The enthusiasm Never Stops. Bart and I used to have issues because I thought I had to match his energy. That took a lot out of me. What I needed to do was simply be and allow him to worship me! LOL! Really though,  to get through the difficulties we were having, we actually sat down to discuss pop culture relationship models, modern archetypes, as something to model our own relationship on. For us, it was Gomez and Morticia, to include the weird old house, fencing, and explosives. And, with both of us being combat vets, dark humor is pretty much a staple in our lives.

About Tracy Crowley

Tracy Crowley has always been an entrepreneur. Whether it was making gowns for fellow Army wives, taking portraits in black and white, or working on her other businesses, she is always learning something new.

That passion for learning something new and giving something back collide nicely in this podcast.

Join Tracy for Good Life Stories, where simple curiosity brings out great stories, every single time.

Check out Tracy’s new book!

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