WOMEN IN ENGINEERING JENNA GARDNER, PE
"As a woman in a male-dominated field, it is important to stand strong and know what you deserve. You must remember there is a difference between professionalism and being polite to the detriment of yourself."
How or why did you choose engineering as a career path or area of study?
I’ve always loved math so I knew I wanted to do something in STEM and when I started looking at careers in STEM, the critical thinking and problem-solving aspects of the engineering field really appealed to me. The fact that it was a male-dominated field didn’t deter me because I knew I could do it well and maybe offer a different perspective or approach as a woman in engineering.
What inspires you about engineering?
Engineering is all about problem-solving. You look at what human beings have been able to create and build over the centuries and the evolution is amazing. People always seem to find a way to innovate and create solutions where there were only problems before in an effort to push society forward.
What challenges do women face in the Engineering profession or academia?
I think the issues that women face in engineering currently are much different from the challenges of our predecessors. While the trailblazing women of this field had to deal with a lot of overt sexism, the problems nowadays are much more nuanced and difficult to define. As a woman in a male-dominated field, it is important to stand strong and know what you deserve. You must remember there is a difference between professionalism and being polite to the detriment of yourself.
What would you say to girls in school or college who may be considering Engineering as a career choice or study option?
It’s challenging in its own right, but that is what makes it interesting. If you’re willing to work hard, there’s no reason you can’t do it.
What are your hopes for the future of Engineering?
I hope to see more women in leadership roles in the future. I think a balance of both men and women would change the dynamic for the better. Also, I hope to see the principles of sustainability become more pervasive throughout the industry. I am passionate about engineering solutions to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.