STEMinist Profile: Barbara A. Res, Professsional Engineer

barbara

Barbara A. Res

Professsional Engineer

Res Construction Services LLC



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
My guidance counselors told me to be a Math teacher because I had the highest math grades in my high school. I did not hear the word engineer once. I entered school as a poli sci major but fortunately my school had an engineering program and I was challenged to study it by some of the male students. Since I liked electricity in physics, I decided to pursue Electrical Engineering and I ended up working in construction.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
My coolest assignment was being in charge of construction of the Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in New York City. By the time I went to work for Trump, I had been an assistant project manager, draftsperson, Mechanical Superintendent and Superintendent on various construction projects. I had a complete knowledge of all trades and was adept at management.

On Trump Tower, I got to build a complicated building and work with the celebrities who bought apartments. We put a swimming pool in one apartment on the 65th floor. The design challenges were illuminating and the personalities intriguing.

Role models and heroes:
Gloria Steinem is a hero. Unfortunately, because of the occupation I chose, there were no female role models. I had some men who were mentors. Think what you will, Donald Trump and his wife Ivana were my biggest promoters and he gave me unbelievable opportunities.

Why do you loving working in STEM?
Construction is the most exciting business because it provides instant gratification. You can point to a building and say, I played a part in creating that. People see your work. I am particularly honored to have my name inscribed on a building I supervised at 667 Madison Ave in NYC.

Construction is challenging and never boring. Every day is different with new problems to solve.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Believe in yourself and your choices. You define the work you do, not the other way around. Don’t let anyone challenge your reasons for becoming an engineer. Don’t stand for harassment and intimidation. You have to pick your spots, and be a bit thick skinned, but any serious action must be reported.

Work very hard. Probably you will work harder than the men. I did. But you don’t have to, just do your best.

Find other women to work with and befriend, even if they are competition. Find a mentor and look for younger women you can help.

Favorite website or app: www.msmagazine.com

Twitter: @Barbararesesq
Site: www.constructionwoman.net

It’s not all about hard hats, honest: life as a female engineer

It’s the kind of job that I’d wanted since I was very young. At school, I always loved scientific subjects. Maths was one of my favourite lessons (yes, really) and solving physics problems was more like a game for me. It really annoys me not knowing how stuff works, so when I discovered that as an engineer I could find some of those answers, it seemed like the right choice.

[ via The Telegraph ]

An Aerospace Engineer’s Top 8 Lessons for Women in Tech

There is something powerful in harnessing the strength that comes from surviving an uncomfortable or unfamiliar situation. The key is to embrace those experiences and learn how to thrive in them. We are not defined by our experiences, but how we react to those experiences and the attitudes we choose to adopt. Transform tension into innovation, tackle challenge with an open mind, and take risks.

[ via The Next Women ]

STEMinist Profile: Natalie Panek, Mission Systems Engineer

Natalie Panek

Natalie Panek

Mission Systems Engineer

MDA Space Missions


What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
My career in STEM began with a dream to travel to space. I was always good at math and science, but loved the adventure involved with becoming an astronaut and was drawn to exploration. This was the deciding factor in pursuing mechanical and aerospace engineering degrees. I also love doing hands-on work and playing with hardware and technology, so engineering is a great fit!

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I have had the opportunity to work on some amazing projects over the past few years. I’ve driven a solar-powered car across North America, got my pilot’s license, and skydived with Korea’s first Astronaut. I’ve interned at both NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center (working on reliability engineering) and NASA Ames Research Center (on a Mission to Mars!).

At my current job, I first started working as an Operations Engineer for the Next Generation Canadarm Project. The goal of this project was to build two new robotic arms to repair and service satellites that have broken components, or have run out of fuel. It is about being more conscious of what we are putting into space and thinking about sustainable exploration. Now I help support the robotics on the International Space Station.

I loved these projects because I was innovating for extreme environments and working with outgoing and dynamic peers. This type of environment gives you the confidence to want to change the world!

Role models and heroes:
My role models are the amazing women that I am able to interact with while pursuing a career in STEM; for example, my instructor when I got my pilot’s license, Athenia Jansen. She exuded confidence and passion, which I think carried her far in a male-dominated field. This is similar for Lt-Col. Maryse Carmichael, Commanding Officer of the Canadian Snowbirds.

Why do you loving working in STEM?
I love working in STEM because it is an opportunity to seek out unfamiliar situations and really challenge myself or push my limits. A curiosity for science, engineering, and technology can cultivate innovation and facilitates life long learning. STEM is a gateway to exploration, which emphasizes the intricate balance between human progress and an entire universe waiting for discovery.

Advice for future STEMinists?
My advice for future women in STEM is to dive head-on into challenging careers. Do not be afraid of risk and take on leadership roles in order to revolutionize what women can accomplish in challenging fields that can influence the foundations of our generation and the next. Also learning teamwork skills, competence, toughness, discipline, responsibility and confidence can really help foster innovation and drive what is possible.

Favorite website or app:
One of my favorite websites is of big mountain skier Christina Lustenberger: http://christinalusti.com/

She has a passion for the mountains, outdoors, and exploration. She is pushing the limits of women’s ski mountaineering. And the pictures on her blog are gorgeous!

Twitter: @nmpanek
Site: thepanekroom.com

STEMinist Profile: Maria Felice, Research Engineer, University of Bristol

Maria Felice

Research Engineer

University of Bristol / Rolls-Royce Plc.



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I loved maths and wanted a job that involved people and solving problems.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
My undergraduate final year project because I saw it go from start to finish.

Role models/heroes:
Too many to mention, but a lot of my fellow Girl Geek Dinner Attendees.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I get to solve real world problems.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Do what you enjoy. Don’t worry about moving around sectors and embrace your gender but don’t give it too much thought!

Favorite website/app: Twitter!

Twitter: @maria_engineer

STEMinist Profile: Carolyn Dougherty, Project Engineer

Carolyn Dougherty

Project Engineer

Tata Steel Projects



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
When I was finishing my BA at Berkeley and planning to go into international relations, I stumbled across a serialised version of Harry Harrison’s novel Tunnel Through the Deeps. For whatever reason, that book got me interested in civil engineering; I wrote papers on the subject as an undergraduate, then had the epiphany, ‘I could write papers about building railways, or I could actually go and BUILD some railways.’ When I finished my BA I immediately started university over again, in a couple of years completing a master’s degree in civil engineering at Berkeley.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to thank Harry Harrison for inspiring me to become a civil engineer; who knows, if I’d stuck with my original plan to be a diplomat I might be stamping passports in Outer Mongolia by now.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
The restoration of Hardwick Park, an 18th century landscape garden near Sedgefield. I was brought in to manage the completion of the work because it had gone over budget and was in danger of not keeping its commitment to the Heritage Lottery Fund. I was able to sort things out and get the restoration work completed; the project and county staff did a beautiful job and the restoration won the Georgian Society award for landscape in 2009.

The park is a fascinating example of a mid 18th century circuit walk garden—its design gives visitors who walk the circuit a very specific emotional experience that resembles going to the theatre, reading a novel or seeing a film. While working on the park I learned a great deal about 18th century landscape design, which opened up a whole new field of knowledge for me; since then I’ve visited several other similar parks (none as nice as Hardwick!), and I gave a paper on the design of Hardwick at the British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies conference in January 2012.

Role models/heroes:
None, I’m afraid—it would be crass to say ‘I did it all on my own’ since my parents paid for my first degree and supported me sporadically for some time afterward, but my career and my choices have been almost entirely of my own devising, without inspiration from role models or support from mentors. Not recommended!

I will, though, admit some admiration for I. K. Brunel. I’m amazed at how successful he was at talking people into things.

Why do you love working in STEM?
One thing I think is true in STEM that is not, at least not necessarily, true in other kinds of work is that we all understand the importance of interaction and collaboration. I like working in an environment where people routinely help each other, aren’t afraid to make (or acknowledge) mistakes, and are accustomed to working as teams. There are two reasons why engineering offices are like this, I think—first, the kind of work we do is so risky that we just can’t afford to cover up or ignore errors—we have to be open and honest about them, while at the same time acknowledging that mistakes are part of the human experience and not criticising or belittling people who make them. Second, there’s still a strong apprenticeship/collegial tradition in engineering, and people are used to the experience of routinely and casually teaching and being taught.

Also, being an engineer has provided me all sorts of opportunities that most other jobs wouldn’t have—particularly the opportunity to obtain EU citizenship though I was born in California.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Don’t sell yourself short—you don’t have to be perfect to be successful. Spend time with people who appreciate and value what you’re interested in and what you do.

Favorite website/app:
I’m going to plug Sydney Padua’s Lovelace and Babbage comics here, I think, as of possible interest to readers: http://sydneypadua.com/2dgoggles/

Twitter: @CarolyninYork

STEMinist Profile: Tia Stackle, Regional Data Engineer

Tia Stackle

Regional Data Engineer
Suddenlink Communications



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I was always good in math and sciences. I liked that there was a “right” answer out there and that the classes weren’t graded by the whim of the teacher’s preference. When I was a stay-at-home homeschooling mother for seven years, I used the computer a lot to get curriculum and other ideas. I taught myself how to use HTML to make my own webpages. But when it came time to pick a career, I wanted something less “artsy” than web design. I realized that network engineering is all about communication – and I like communicating and helping others to gain knowledge and socialize and enjoy all that technology has to give us today. Without networks, none of that is possible.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
My version of cool may not seem all that great to others…But I was working for a cable company that was launching telephony services back in the mid-2000s. Marketing hadn’t timed their launch date with Engineering very well so we ended up with a due date that was two weeks after the equipment showed up in our warehouse. I led the team in installing, configuring and testing six UBR100112 routers (hip height routers that tie the Ethernet network to the hybrid fiber coax plant) in six different cities before our due date. It was fun, challenging and rewarding. What is cooler than that?

Role models/heroes:
Padmasree Warrior – CTO of Cisco, Nomi Bergman – President of Brighthouse, Charlotte Field – Senior VP of Infrastructure and Operations at Comcast.

Why do you love working in STEM?
It is exciting to be on the cutting edge of technology – doing things that no one thought possible 10 years ago. I love leading a team to make The Network bigger, faster, stronger, better and to know that without us (network engineers in general), broadband and the Internet wouldn’t be the essential tool it has become.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Work hard. Learn a lot. Love what you do. STEM changes the world every day and we want to be part of that change so hang in there.

Favorite website or app:
Honestly…Netflix. Probably shouldn’t publish that though since I work for a cable company. :) Sudoku puzzles would be what I spend the most “free time” using. I have been told they’ll help to keep me from losing my mind…and with a house full of daughters, a new husband, and a crazy career that has me work at all hours of the day and night, I need every bit of help I can get!

Twitter: @tiastackle