I am an electrical engineer today. But, no one encouraged me or ever suggested to me that I consider engineering as a career, not even my PhD engineer father! I was actively discouraged from even applying to the University of Virginia by my guidance counselor. But, I was accepted to the University of Virginia and began my college career as a math major. Then, I found engineering. I met with the Dean and filled out all of the paperwork to transfer to the engineering school. I called home to tell my parents – my mother said “no.” But, I told them that I was calling to inform them – not ask for permission. I was at the University of Virginia the third year that women were admitted as undergraduate students so there weren’t many women engineering students – but I didn’t think that was odd – there weren’t very many women. Little did I know that women were such a small percentage of the engineering field – then and today.
I don’t understand why more women don’t pursue the engineering field. Engineers do such amazing things – I help provide the electricity that powers our homes and businesses. My dear friend cleans up the world’s water – we live to be 77 years old today because of the availability of clean water. Another of my friends helps build the systems that provide our country’s defense. Others build space shuttles, computers, communications systems, ipods, ipads, iphones, artificial joints, airports and airplanes, pacemakers, the screws in my knee. Engineers around the world provide water conveyance systems (pipes and pumps) to villages. Do you know what happens in those villages when the water is provided through pipes and pumps? Women don’t have to serve as water mules any more – they don’t have to spend their lives going to get the water that the village needs to survive. They can go to school instead!
Engineers make the world work and make such a difference in the world. Women make great engineers – and yes, we do LOOK like engineers!
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