Society of Women Engineers hosts Engineering Alumni Speaker Panel
Grace Gillespie, Staff Writer
While some have not accepted that women can work in engineering, a number of women have broken boundaries and proven that their creative and analytical minds can prosper in this career. On Friday, Oct. 12, the Society of Women Engineers hosted an event to introduce Saint Martin’s University alumni of the school of engineering to the campus community. The alumnae who attended were very motivating and encouraging to other women looking to go into an industry that has historically been dominated by men. The women were honest and said that there are times when a male coworker will engage in inappropriate side hugs and encounters that he would not do with another coworker. The best advice the alumni could give was to be confident in yourself and tell your boss or manager when you are feeling uncomfortable. Another factor discussed for facing criticism in this career is being young. The older workers often assume the younger workers have no idea what they are talking about and treat them like they are incompetent.
The visiting alumnae shared the importance of preparing for the lifestyle of an engineer through internships as soon as possible. The alumnae said that they went on the Career Center website, which is Handshake for current students, to find internships, and shared that on-the-job experience is better for a resume than getting a master’s degree. Talking to other classmates helped one of the alumnae find a job during her time at Saint Martin’s. She encouraged other engineering majors to become acquainted and talk with their peers, as they will probably be working with someone that has been in one of your classes in the future.
When it comes to working on the job, there are many different career options in public and private firms. Public firms hold typical business hours and are not as flexible. Employees at public firms must request days in advance and be more professional. In private firms, the job environment is much more relaxed. The hours are flexible and employees can often work whenever is best for their schedule. Some only work four days a week and the companies are okay with time off if management is first informed. Alumnae advised not to expect sitting in a desk alone drawing for hours when picturing. In fact, there will be a lot of collaboration between employees, and everything you encounter will be done in groups. Alumnae advised the students to keep self-esteem up and voice individual ideas while taking the ideas of others into considerations.