This week is National Engineers Week or E-Week as us engineers call it (we have to make everything efficient). But what is E-Week? Is it just a week where all the engineers of the world celebrate themselves? Not at all! E-Week is about educating people about how engineers contribute to the world. It is a week dedicated to telling people about all that engineers do. In honor of National Engineers Week, I will be writing about 4 women who inspired me to become an engineer. In my post 7 Reasons to Major in Engineering, I wrote about a conversation I had with my dad when deciding on a major. He suggested Mechanical Engineering as a degree, and I went with it. But as I’ve mentored others thinking about a path in engineering, I’ve realized that making the decision to major in engineering is not so simple for some. So I started to think about why my response to the suggestion was so quick, and how I was able to stick to engineering for the ten years after graduating. I realized it was because I had watched women through my life who had shown me (though I was unaware) that I could do whatever men did. They never told me explicitly told me this, never fed me the mantra of girl power. They simply lived their lives, and I watched. Some of them were engineers, some were not. Some climbed the corporate ladder, some left the corporate world only to return later. Others had very different paths. Each of these women taught me to persevere by showing me that nothing stood in my way other than myself. I could see myself in each of them, which led me to believe I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to. But all four of them also showed me something else. A softer side that the world would never show me. They also showed me I did not need to sacrifice myself and family for my career.
I hope you enjoy learning about these women, and are able to draw inspiration from them as well. You do not become an engineer because you are naturally smart. You become an engineer because you are persistent, and are able to overcome difficulties. Each of these women showed me how to do that.
Read about each woman!