Making an Impact as a Woman Who Loves Engineering

December 07, 2016 | Author: Elizabeth Bierman

We spend a lot of time in Aerospace talking about the importance of Diversity. We all bring something different to the table – which gives diversity of thought – but women engineers (like myself) bring a unique perspective, like balancing work with home and teamwork with customer satisfaction. But, did you know women only make up 12 percent of practicing engineers? In my opinion, that’s not enough. The facts speak for themselves – there’s a critical shortage.

With those statistics I sometimes ask myself: why do I stay in engineering? It’s because I’m always challenged in a positive way at my job. And because of my involvement in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

I draw a lot of inspiration as a professional through the women I’ve met during my time in SWE. It’s an amazing group that inspires me to want to do better. They are my driving force throughout my career and I’ve learned to not discount the impact I am making.

I challenge myself to: Remember you are a role model giving visibility not only to women in engineering, but also to our entire community, in order to let people know how great it is to be an engineer.

Recently, I read an article in Scientific American by Katherine Phillips titled “Why Diversity Makes Us Smarter.” The article talks about how to prepare or challenge yourself if you know you will be working with people who aren’t ‘like’ you. It explores how the conflict of different ideas and opinions can bring a better you to the table. The author closes with these words:

This is how diversity works: by promoting hard work and creativity; by encouraging the consideration of alternatives even before any interpersonal interaction takes place. The pain associated with diversity can be thought of as the pain of exercise. You have to push yourself to grow your muscles. The pain, as the old saying goes, produces the gain. In just the same way, we need diversity—in teams, organizations and society as a whole—if we are to change, grow and innovate.

So I encourage all of us to push ourselves to grow both personally and professionally to show the importance of diversity for women engineers. I am proud to be among you.

Elizabeth Bierman

Elizabeth Bierman

Elizabeth Bierman is a senior program manager for Honeywell Aerospace in Minneapolis. She is currently the President of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). In her role at Honeywell, Bierman leads integrated product delivery and support, an engineering development process that is used throughout the Aerospace division.

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