Thursday, February 20, 2014

Incredible Female Engineers

Today is “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.” It's been more than half a century since American women picked up wrenches in factories across the United States and helped support the war effort as their husbands, fathers and brothers headed to Europe and Asia. That catalyzing event began a change in course for women in the workforce that continues today. Despite how far we've come, we still have strides to make. Today, women only make up about 15% of the engineering industry according to the National Society of Professional Engineers, but LETU women engineering students don’t let the statistics stop them. 

LeTourneau University offers one of the most rigorous engineering programs in the country, and while the field used to be exclusively male-dominated, the LETU female engineering student counts grow each academic year. LeTourneau University is a place where there are no glass ceilings, and success is limited only by how hard our students work. Our female students are integral members of all of our STEM majors, as well as aviation.
Spring 2012 graduate Lorrin Quinn, currently employed at Rockwell Collins as a Systems Engineer, refused to be daunted by those who discouraged her from engineering: 
“As a woman whose most obvious skill set lies in communication, I was regularly told by others that I would be better suited to a different field than engineering. My engineering professors and parents were among the only ones insistent I would make a great engineer.”

Quinn found her differences from the male engineering population were actually an asset to her career.

“After finishing college, I found that I was highly sought after in the industry because the combination of technical knowledge and strong communication, writing, and personal skills is rare in the engineering field and greatly desired.” Quinn said. “What others considered to be reasons I shouldn’t be an engineer turned into my greatest strengths in the industry. So, just because you're not like the boys going into engineering doesn't mean you don't belong. Your differences make you valuable.”

Kristy Raley, another recent LETU alumna, just graduated in Fall 2013 with a degree in biomedical engineering and is already employed as a Design Engineer at Ulterra. She’s obviously passionate about her profession.

“I love computational modeling. I love using math to predict how parts will behave before they are even built so we can change and avoid problems. I did that in college and fell in love with it, and I am happy that I found a job that lets me do that.”

Raley makes her alma mater proud – she’s an advocate for encouraging young girls to enter technical fields, her interest in engineering stemming from attending a computer science camp for girls in high school.

“At that camp I learned I was really good at problem solving and working in group projects. We built an NXT robot that followed a flashlight through a maze,” she said.  “I loved the collaboration and how we all added our skills to the group to make our project the best,” Raley said, then quickly added, “My team won the race!”

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