Background & Challenges
I am a 2005 graduate from Virginia Tech, with a B.S. in industrial and systems engineering. As a young 20 something coming out of college, I was not sure what type of career within the engineering field I wanted to pursue. I can remember interviewing with SURVICE and discussing how survivability engineering is not taught as a traditional degree program, and the discipline is instead learned through on-the-job training. That was something that intrigued me. As I’m sure any SURVICE employee would tell you, I was also proud to help support the Warfighter.
Going along with the women in engineering storyline – before I was offered a full-time position with SURVICE, I interviewed with other companies. One of my interviews was with a cabinet manufacturer who asked a question that I had not rehearsed an answer for. The question went along the lines of, “we have a lot of ‘good old boys’ that work in the machine shop. How would you handle that type of situation?” I honestly had never experienced that situation in my short lifetime but thought I would openly accept the challenge. While I expect everyone to show a decent level of respect, I also think professional respect is best earned based on your actions, interactions, and achievements. Even though this should not be the case just because you are a woman, everyone loves an “underdog” story.
Who inspires you?
While I don’t have an overwhelming story about how I really looked up to so and so, I will say that my mom always pushed me to focus on science and math, as those were subject areas I enjoyed and did well in. That paid off in the long run for sure.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Woman’s history month is a time to reflect on how far mutual respect in the workplace has come. I am happy to say I see extremely successful, and respected, women at various levels in my daily professional interactions. It is crazy to look back and see how that was not always the case.