The theme of this year’s National Engineers Week, February 16-22, is “Be a Pioneer of Progress”. This week is about promoting awareness for our industry and inspiring the next generation by helping them to wonder if engineering could be in their future, too.
In honor of Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, part of National Engineers Week, I wanted to understand what in their lives drove them to become an engineer so I asked them “what inspired you to become an engineer?”. I hope you find their responses as inspiring as I did.
Amy Coppers-Costantino, PE
“Growing up I always loved learning something new and I still do. I was always adventuring and discovering the outdoors. Helping my father fix his car or lawn mower was one of my favorite things to do. I loved understanding how things worked, which was empowering when I was a young girl. I had a knack for math and science, and I was also introduced to CAD in high school and would draft gears and machine parts. Engineering was just a natural extension of my interests growing up and I continue to learn every day.”
“In high school, I really enjoyed math and physics and by the end of my senior year, I knew I wanted to study math. Engineering schools were not really advertised as an option for women at my time, however, I was always drawn to problem solving and becoming an engineer seemed the perfect fit for me. I wanted to go against the odds, and I enrolled in mechanical engineering and specialized in industrial machines and tools — I was one of two women among 200 graduates. I feel blessed and happy to have chosen this path and by doing what I love every day.”
“Growing up in Mexico, an aspect that always stuck with me is the lack of access to purified water. I came to the realization that not only my community, but every human-being deserves the opportunity to have clean water. Throughout my educational career, I carried the passion of improving the environment to make the world a better place to live, even if it was in small magnitudes. My interest for environmental engineering sprouted once I was able to put the puzzle together that I wanted to pursue a career which provides communities with a sustainable environment and has a positive impact in their everyday lives.”
Abigail Byrne, EIT
“The first time I was called an engineer was in middle school on summer vacation. The mission was to build a sandcastle near the water that wouldn’t get washed away. I collected rocks and secured them together with seaweed then began building the sandcastle on top. My creation worked! As the tide rose the waves crossed underneath my sandcastle. A passerby walking the beach commended me “you are quite the engineer!” — I liked the sound of that!”
— Connie Taggart, Director of Human Resources