The Engineers Behind Honeywell Anthem
The Engineers Behind Honeywell Anthem
For International Women’s Day, the female lead engineers behind Honeywell Anthem - Honeywell’s newest and most advanced flight deck - share what it’s like to be making history and their advice to others considering STEM careers.
1. Honeywell hasn't released a new flight deck for 30 years. How does it feel to be part of making Honeywell history?
Trish: I have been at Honeywell for about 25 years, starting as an intern. I came in at the tail end of Primus Epic in the late ’90s. Working with the folks who began that program, there were plenty of opportunities to hear about lessons learned and what we could do differently for future flight decks. It was nice to have that background when creating Anthem.
My role is to come at the avionics development from a human factors perspective. I get involved at all the places where the pilot interacts with the flight deck. I've worked with many pilots of different generations - those who have been part of our legacy and have flown our flight decks for years and those that are new to Honeywell. They always have plenty of inputs to provide. Working with a diverse range of individuals makes you not only look at what’s worked in the past but also challenges you to look at things from all angles.
Dany: I feel very fortunate to be a part of this new product. Regardless of the specific tasks I do in supporting this new flight deck, big or small, all these pieces are all important to make the big puzzle.
2. This year's theme for the Honeywell Women Employees Network is allyship. What have you learned about being a better ally for women in STEM jobs in the aerospace industry?
Trish: Get involved. When you start your career, don't be afraid to branch out and make connections. I sit on many committees, like with the National Research Council and RTCA, a group that writes the standards that eventually become part of the aviation regulatory environment. When you join networks like this, you meet many outstanding individuals you can learn from, and you can discover more opportunities to grow within your career.
Don't be afraid to participate or ask questions. Don't ever pretend to know the most in the room. Try to listen and learn from others' experiences and share your own experience.
Dany: To be an ally for this group of people is to provide guidance, opportunity, or assistance so they make better effort to break the barrier or ceiling that may prevent them from advancing their career ahead. One may be a better ally for women in STEM jobs and in the Aerospace industry by sharing their own successes and failures that they had experienced. The inequality at the workplace is unfortunately real. However, beyond shining through the barrier by outstanding, undeniable, great skillsets and talents, these previous successes and failures may help to alleviate some systemic inequality issue.
3. Has gender played a critical role in your selection of mentors and sponsors?
Trish: Any gender can be supportive and empower us to achieve our potential. Seek individuals who are passionate about their jobs, and those you can learn from. However, with that said, I believe when women support women it is an incredible thing.
Dany: I’ve only had limited option when choosing mentors or sponsors during my academic and professional experiences. But if I was given a choice, I would most likely be leaning toward approaching a female mentor or sponsor for better chance of me having more aspects that are relatable to the person.
4. Looking back, what would you tell your 15-year-old self?
Trish: You don’t have to have it all figured out yet. Keep challenging yourself and take risks. Be comfortable being uncomfortable - that's when you are truly growing.
Dany: Don’t settle, explore more, exhaust your resources before committing to something.
5. Why do you find your job rewarding?
Trish: It’s very rewarding because no two days are the same. Each day I know I can make a difference by taking on and trying to solve some tough problems. I enjoy that my job involves working closely with pilots and engineers and together we are going to make flying safer.
Dany: When I see the result of my effort and having the knowledge of being a part of success.
6. What do you advise young women interested in STEM career fields?
Trish: I give the same advice whether you're a young woman or a young man. I have three boys, and two are in college working to be engineers. There's so much ahead of them that it can be overwhelming, but I always tell them they are on the right track if they are doing what drives or interests them.
I love my job at Honeywell because I get to embrace my passion. My advice is to find what you're most interested in. If you're good in math, you're good in science, you're good at solving problems, look into the STEM fields. Find what makes you tick and go after it!
Dany: If science, math, computers, or any types of technology is what intrigues you, keep on pushing and keep on going. Just like any other areas out there, there will be ups and downs. In my experience, there were a smaller number of women compared to men, starting at when I was going to school at Arizona State University (Aerospace Engineering), to now at my work-place (Flight Control). Study hard, be persistent, read about current technologies, build relationships with your teachers/professors/other professionals, and get an internship at a company who you’d like to work in the future. The result is worth everything, if you end up with a career doing what you love to do!!