This month we asked SWE member and environmental engineer Joyann Brice how she dealt with people questioning her decision to become an engineer, how she responded when people said engineering was for boys, and how she responded when people said how hard the classes would be. This is what she said…
When questioned about becoming an engineer I would simply state, “I like to build and I love the environment so why not pick a career where the structures I design support or help the environment.”
When people say engineering is for boys, I would refer to my favorite SWE t-shirt from college that asks “How many men does it take to build a rocket ship?” and on the back it says “NONE…Society of Women Engineers."
When people asked about the workload, I just respond that it would be worth it! Nothing in life is easy and with a good competitive degree later on in life the four years of little sleep and tons of coffee seems like nothing compared to other life struggles.
The truth is there will always be a critic for any path you choose, but it is your decision and you need to make on your own. Engineering is a male-dominated field but it does not mean it is JUST for boys. You should never have to defend your decision of your occupation. In life I chose not to respond to negative comments or opinions of others when talking about my career path. If you want to be an engineer, be in a male-dominated career, or become president no one’s opinion should affect your decision, because it’s your life to live.