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Girls in Engineering: Being Ourselves

By Janet Araque and Ji Yoon Lee

Being a woman in engineering, a traditionally male-dominated field, is still no easy feat. While the male-female gap has shrunk over the last few decades, entering the field as a woman can still be overwhelming and intimidating. Thankfully we live in times when everyone is encouraged to break the status quo and unequivocally be ourselves.

When we think about why we chose an engineering, out of all the possible fields of study, it’s easy to look back on our childhood and notice the patterns. We loved playing with Legos and putting puzzles together; we didn’t cringe at the sight of math; and most of all, we enjoyed a challenge.
 
An engineering degree is a door that opens to endless possibilities. You spend four to five years learning how to apply math to solve real world problems. These skills can translate to any career path because you learn how to be a team member, a leader, and a problem solver. An engineering degree can open doors to manufacturing, consultancy, information technology, and even human services. The most important part about your engineering degree is figuring out how to best apply it to what you find important.

Pairing our problem-solving drive with a passion to help others, we find it rewarding to work in the not-for-profit sector of the energy industry. At the American Public Power Association, we use engineering knowledge and project management skills to help public power utilities support and improve the well-being of their communities. We are fortunate to have found ways in which we enjoy applying our engineering skills.
 
We’ll leave you with a piece of advice — do not let others dampen your dreams. Don’t let previously conceived notions of who can succeed in the field you’re interested in become an obstacle to your dreams. Being a woman is a powerful thing, and pairing it with the knowledge and tools that come with an engineering degree will pave the way for success.

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