When General Electric Transportation/Wabtec offered Brittany Lee Fisher a job as a mechanical engineer in Edison Engineering Development Program (EEDP) in 2016, she jumped at the chance. The daughter of Korean and Japanese immigrants, Fisher knew the position would allow her to build a strong career and make her parents’ proud. But she also knew that building her life in Erie would allow her to invest in the community.
From a young age, Brittany watched her parents overcome linguistic and cultural barriers to give their kids a chance at success in America. It’s why she pursued mechanical engineering, ultimately getting her master’s. But she also wanted to help others reach similar heights; she became a community service leader with GET/Wabtec’s Asian Pacific American Forum and organized STEM learning programs at Edison Elementary. “Making a box that splits light into a rainbow spectrum and making rubber band-propelled helicopters, may not seem like much,” she says, “but activities with real engineers help kids learn to love science.” She also helps counteract brain drain by developing and attracting Asian talent to the company.
“Families are appreciative of our stories and the ways we invite their children into enjoying our culture.”
As an Asian American, Brittany feels safe, welcome and celebrated in Erie. She helps plan a bi-annual Asian Festival, which attracts thousands to Waldameer and Water World amusement park. Brittany’s booth teaches kids to make origami. A representative from China teaches calligraphy. And those from India and Pakistan help children dress up in saris while teaching them about their unique food and music. The highlight of the festival are live performances, featuring classical dance from, India, China, the Philippines and more. “The event helps build bridges across communities,” Fisher says. “Families are appreciative of our stories and the ways we invite their children into enjoying our culture.”
Brittany believes Erie is an ideal city for families looking for diversity, cross-cultural learning, safety and opportunity. In other words, a perfect place for second-generation families and native-born Americans alike.