International Women’s Engineering Day celebrates the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world. This years theme, “Engineering Heroes,” aims to showcase the bravest women- the ones who recognize a problem and dare to be part of the solution. According to the Society of Women Engineers, only 14% of all professional engineers are female- of that 14%, only 30% are still in the field after 20 years. We celebrate this day because we recognize that diversity, not only of gender but of age, culture, race, experience, and expertise builds a stronger workforce.
Carla Berkshire, a Process Engineer with nearly 20 years of experience, gives this advice to young women entering the profession, “Take a seat at the table, do not wait to be invited. State your basis and stand your ground. (It is not fair, but women are often challenged on their input.)”
She emphasized the importance of finding co-workers who remind you that you’re awesome or give you that much needed kickstart saying, “find a group of like-minded women to “huddle” with, they will be the people to help you, support you and encourage you without expecting anything in return.”
We asked Deepa Patel, an Instrumentation and Controls Engineer with a B.S. in Physics and M.S. in Engineering Physics, about the importance of women in STEM, “The future is very bright, I strongly encourage all of the women to take initiative and take courses in this STUNNING field. Working in STEM is prestigious and there is so much dignity for women in technology! I am extremely proud to solve the complex issues and executing critical projects. We need multi-talented people, and women are by-natured multi-talented which makes them assets in this field. I am so excited to celebrate our women engineers.”
Sharon Petko-Bunny has over 25 years of experience as a Project Manager and a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering, along her M.B.A.. Sharon shared her advice for young women saying, “Do not be afraid to ask questions when you don’t know something and speak your mind when something is not right. Aggressively pursue mentors (technical & business) – you are not an island. And most importantly, keep your sense of humor at all times.”
We are honored to have a team of role models who seek to inspire young women to believe in themselves and achieve their highest potential. Happy International Women’s Engineering Day!