What sparked your interest in Engineering?
This month we are looking at the beginnings and inspirations which made us choose engineering as a career. What was that defining experience or idea which sparked a lifelong passion for making, building, and problem solving? Here are three engineers sharing what inspired them to pursue engineering.
Faculty Advisor, Lorain County Community College
While growing up in India, I came from a family where my father tried to expose us to cutting edge and non-traditional careers. He would invite students from engineering fields to share their experiences with us. Those students left an indelible impression on me. They were well behaved in front of my parents, but always challenged me behind their back by boasting about their rigorous course work.
I wanted to gauge engineering for myself and to impress my parents and siblings. Those days, engineering was very uncommon, especially for female students who generally opted to be teachers.
My determination and passion allowed me to not only pursue a higher degree in engineering, but also to share my love for this field with other female students. Engineering is about making things, wondering how they work, and using your curiosity to explore and reach new heights. This mindset has strengthened my ability to accept challenges and solve problems.
Graduate Bridge Engineer, Pennoni Associates
I was inspired when I was young girl to pursue engineering by my dad, although I didn’t really know it as engineering at the time. A carpenter by trade, my dad built the house I grew up in, and over the years I have helped him with various small projects around the house. Through helping him with these projects and listening to him explain what needed to be done, he instilled in me a love for construction.
Throughout grade school, I greatly enjoyed my math and science classes but the word “engineering” wasn’t brought up until my Junior year of high school. That year, I attended Widener University’s Engineering Girls Camp, which is run by their school and the local Philadelphia SWE section. Here I not only met young ladies from the local Widener SWE section, but also had the opportunity to meet professionals in a variety of engineering disciplines.
Both the college students and professionals gave me women to look up to and strive to be someday. This camp sparked my interest in engineering by teaching me what the word “engineering” meant. It also taught me that Civil Engineering would be the perfect major for me as it combines construction of buildings and bridges with my love of the technical side of math and science.
Now, just as I grew up listening to my dad as he pointed out buildings in the Philadelphia area that he worked on, I can now do the same with bridges that I am currently working on as a bridge engineer!
Staff Engineer, Product Support Engineering,
I had never even heard of engineering when my 11th grade physics teacher read an article to my class about a "Women in Engineering" summer camp for girls who enjoyed science and math. The camp was held at Michigan Technological University, and company sponsorships were available for those who applied.
My mother always encouraged me and my four siblings to "Do it!" so I applied and received a sponsorship from PPG. My parents, two siblings, one grandma, and two other campers from Pennsylvania packed up and headed to Michigan. For a week, we were exposed to all areas of engineering through lectures, labs, and field trips.
I could not believe there was such a fun career which fit my interests and abilities and that there were so many other girls just like me. I was hooked!