June 23, 2018 is International Women in Engineering Day. In honor of this day, we asked Jill Tietjen, editor of the Women in Engineering and Science series to share her personal experience as one of the first women in her engineering program at the University of Virginia. Find out why she says having brothers helped her make it through engineering school and read her advice for women in STEM today.
Can you describe an experience you had as a female engineer student that would surprise women in the field today?
Being in the third class of women that had ever attended the engineering school at the University of Virginia, my professors had never had women students and didn’t know how to deal with them. In addition, we were still using slide rules (calculators weren’t yet affordable for students). I went to see my thermodynamics professor during office hours. The first thing he said to me was “Miss Stein (my maiden name), you used too many significant digits in your answers to the problems.” The second thing he said to me was, “You are the top man in the class, so to speak.”
What is your advice for women building their careers in STEM fields today?
Find work and jobs that you do that align with who you are as a person – your interests and your values. Never stop learning. Get additional formal education that is appropriate for your career path – whether that be technical or business or whatever. Learn how to navigate the politics – doing hard work and doing your job well is not enough to get ahead.
Watch the full video & read other stories by women engineers at Springer.com.