In a year where all of us have had to adjust to a “new normal”, it’s nice to find support in any way we can. Mentors can always guide us through our engineering careers or classes, and in times like these while we have so many other things to worry about, it’s good to have a mentor help us navigate our paths in engineering.
Coming up in January is Mentoring Month, so let’s talk about why is it important to support women in engineering. Who has been a mentor to you in your engineering education or career?
Widener University, B.S. in Civil Engineering
Bridge Engineer, Delaware Department of Transportation
In a field that is predominately male, it is important to support women in engineering because it will encourage more women to pursue a career in this field. If women feel supported by others, then they are more likely to succeed and excel in both their engineering education and career. My college professor became a mentor for me during my engineering education. As a young, aspiring engineer, her intelligence and hard work showed me that women are more than capable of being successful in the field of engineering.
Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at San Antonio
Lecturer, University of Kentucky – Paducah Extended Campus (Lecturer)
My sister used to say that we (as women) understand and know our strengths, but it is necessary to feel that reassurance from someone who is involved in the field or who is as technical as we perceive ourselves to be. That is your mentor. That person who can guide you in your journey and who advocates for you. I have had several mentors in my life: younger and older than me, appointed or developed mentorships. Although I had been involved with mentoring in so many ways: technical help, coaching, or establishing professional goals, the one mentor I really appreciated was the one who showed me resilience in my personal life and career. One mentor I would like to share is my organic chemistry professor. He was, as he has passed away, the best mentor someone could ever have. He shared the lessons that he learned from his life (a son diagnosed with cancer as a child). He showed me work ethic, faith, kindness, resilience, and a love for teaching engineering. I follow most of his teaching philosophy and I apply it on a daily basis in my own work. His biggest dream was to get a Ph.D. and he did it when he turned 60 years old. Not only he has been one of the best mentors I could ever have (about all possible subjects in my career) but he has been one of the best role models I could ever ask for. I keep his book (he published several) and I read it from time to time to remember his wise words.
Senior year of college (BS) in Mechanical, University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez
It is important to support women in engineering and science because times are changing. We are having more representation and we need to support each other to diversify even more until we reach equity and equality. Each girl that has a passion for STEM, should follow it regardless of stereotypes. SWEsters are good mentors, mine are Eileen Vélez, Francine Vega, and Catherine Castro. These mentors motivate and inspire me in different aspects of my career, for example, with school, how to organize and set up my goals, or simply by learning through their experience and advice.
- SWEet Wisdom: What Influenced You Towards Engineering?
- SWEet Wisdom: How Did You Choose Your Engineering Discipline?
- SWEet Wisdom: How did you develop your engineering skills in high school?
- SWEet Wisdom: What Surprised You Most About Your College Experiences?
- SWE Stories: Tales from the Archives- Mentoring Pt. 1
- SWE Stories: Tales from the Archives- Mentoring Pt. 2
- Podcast: The Benefits of Mentorship with Cathy Meyn
- FAQs on the SWE Mentor Network