Every February 11th, we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in STEM. This day comes with the reminder that young girls are not always encouraged to pursue careers in math and science-centric fields, but we’re here to remind everyone that these careers are open to anyone who is bold enough to challenge stereotypes that could otherwise keep them away.
We asked a few of the amazing women who work at Hoyle, Tanner what they would tell their younger selves about becoming an engineer. Their advice:
Marisa DiBiaso is a Senior Civil Engineer and has been with Hoyle, Tanner for 8 years. She specializes in land development and site design work. If she could speak to her younger self, she’d advocate for reaching out to others sooner:
“I would tell my younger self to seek out more mentors for guidance on different skillsets and general career advice. There are a lot of people that enjoy mentoring, and I’ve benefitted from some really great mentors over the course of my career. I wish I had connected with more people sooner. I’d also tell myself that while working hard and doing quality work are really important, you shouldn’t need to work harder than everyone else to be respected. Finally, speak up and ask questions. Sometimes we are afraid of revealing that we don’t understand something, but often times asking a good question can show you are engaged and thinking ahead. You aren’t expected to know everything!”
Emily Belisle is an entry-level Civil Engineer who is in her first year of employment with Hoyle, Tanner (and worked with another firm previously). Her answer puts the career into perspective:
“I would tell my younger self that becoming an engineer is no harder than becoming anything else. As long as it is what you want to do, it’ll be worth it.”
Payton Borza has been working in our Florida office for 6 years as an Airport Engineer. If she could talk to her younger self, it wouldn’t have anything to do with being female or male – instead, it would have to do with following your own inner calling.
“There are so many different types of engineers and different fields you can choose! Spend time thinking about which ones interest you the most.”
Suzy Sheppard one of our talented Senior Airport Engineers and has built her career in her 25 years at Hoyle, Tanner. To her younger self, she’d encourage patience:
“Growing up I believed that all my career goals would be achieved by 30. Engineering is a dynamic field that is always changing and there’s always something new and exciting to discover. I would tell my younger self to prepare for a lifetime of learning and growing. You may reach your intended goals at 30 or you may not, but there are always new goals to be made.”
Katelyn Welch has been building her career at Hoyle, Tanner for the past 6 years as a Structural Engineer, designing bridges and working on construction sites. Her advice is not one of regrets but one of welcomed lessons.
“Don’t be afraid to fail. Engineering is a career where you learn just as much from your mistakes as your successes.”
“Don’t be intimidated. You have the brains and the drive. You can do this.”
Monika Ingalls is a Civil Engineer who has been with Hoyle, Tanner for 2 years working in our Burlington, Vermont office. She would warn her younger self not to sweat the small stuff.
“I would tell my younger self to remember to stay focused on my goals and to not worry about inconsequential matters. I would also say to not worry so much about being the only girl in the room because the world is changing and more women are joining the workforce every year! And lastly, I would remind myself to pay attention in structural analysis more often!”
Nicole Crawford has been an Airport Engineer at Hoyle, Tanner for 7 years where she’s not only been doing calculations, but has also been a mentor to others. Her advice comes with a gentle instruction.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You have your own set of strengths and weaknesses, and the most important thing you will learn is how to evaluate them for yourself. Improve where you need to but advocate for yourself using your strengths….and trust me, you have some. Don’t be afraid to let go of what doesn’t click.”
If we can learn anything from these women, it’s not to shy away from a challenge, and not to be intimidated by a career path in science, technology, engineering or mathematics!