Today is Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, a day many of us at Acentech hold near and dear to our hearts. As part of National Engineers Week, this day is a worldwide campaign to engage, highlight, and promote girls in engineering. To join the celebration, we asked some of our female consultants about their engineering journeys.
My initial interest in engineering stemmed from my love of math and physics, and my desire to use these toolsets to tackle tangible problems. I’ve also been passionate about music from a young age, and I feel very fortunate to have found a career in acoustics that intertwines music, engineering, and design in such a fulfilling way. I’m constantly energized by opportunities to expose people of all ages and backgrounds to the interdisciplinary world of acoustics, from collaborating with Nitsch on an acoustics-focused Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day event in 2017, to teaching mechanical engineering students at Tufts, to working with clients on a variety of exciting projects. As I wrote about a few years ago, my advice to young girls interested in engineering is to embrace your unique set of skills and interests, use this perspective to contribute to project teams, and allow yourself to imagine career opportunities that combine extracurricular passions with engineering.
Engineering provides a foundation for quite literally all fields of work – arts, sciences, humanities, business – because studying engineering is an education in how to solve problems. I graduated from college 20 years ago and my friends from school are in many different fields – defense, education, energy, marketing, technology, insurance, acoustics, finance, law, medicine, and others. My engineering degree certainly prepared me for my work in acoustics and critical thinking in everyday life. So my advice to someone considering engineering is it is a great foundation for any career and does not need to lead to a traditional engineering job – although it might do that too!
Rose Mary Su
I am interested in how different components are interlinked. I like to question why things work the way they do. That curiosity is what led me to pursue a degree and a career in engineering. For all the young girls out there interested in engineering, don’t be afraid! Explore!
Liz Lamour Croteau
I loved science and math classes in high school, but I wanted to be a professional violinist so I considered math and science as more of a hobby. At Berklee College of Music, I fell in with a crowd of older students who were all audio engineering majors, and as a string player, people wanted me to play on their recording sessions all the time. This led to me being in the studios, and eventually assisting in recording sessions and earning a degree in audio engineering. One day I found the original essay I had written as part of my application to the audio engineering major, and in it, I expressed my interested in acoustics because it involved all my favorite topics (music, math, science) and that being surrounded by musicians in a “big city” inspired me to want to learn more about sound. I eventually landed in AV design and I feel that it fits my interests and background the best; a little bit of the audio engineer plus all that math and science stuff. There will always be people who try to dampen your passion, who try to make pursuing this work uncomfortable. Your best comeback will be to keep going and succeed.
I was always creating things with my hands when I was young, whether that be crafts or constructs of magnetic rods and spherical magnets. As I grew up, I began taking a mental log of spaces I experienced that emotionally impacted me, and then I found myself asking, ‘why is that?’ Eventually, my tinkering and curiosities matured and evolved into an interest in architecture and the engineering behind buildings. I pursued a degree in architecture because I thought it would provide an ideal mix for me of design creativity with technical knowledge and constraints. Ultimately, I was able to combine my interests in music and the auditory experience with architecture into a career in architectural acoustics, making me happy to come into work every day as an acoustical consultant. There are so many different paths you can take in the realm of engineering; even if engineering does not turn out to be exactly right for you, it opens up a lot of other interesting opportunities. Most importantly, though, you should pursue with all your might whatever makes you happy.