International Women in Engineering Day

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Saturday, June 23, 2018 is International Women in Engineering Day. This is a day to create awareness of Women in Engineering on a global level. The goal is to educate the world on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this growing industry.

As of 2017 women only made up 24% of the engineering workforce. Computer science and engineering fields have the highest return on investment compared to any other fields, which is why this area of employment is beginning to play an important role in the future of women and our world.

To close the male-female gap in engineering, STEM education needs to begin at an early age. This will allow girls to explore careers in the STEM field.

With the extra emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), women are beginning to work in careers that were solely male-led. The stereotype that links masculinity to technology is slowly being diminished. A pink-hard-hat transformation exercise is playing a large part in this movement. The stereotypical hard hat, that is seen on many construction sites, has been replaced with one made in bright pink – fighting a stereotype with a stereotype. This movement has proven incredibly effective at inspiring girls and is a coveted item that has been worn by many supporters.

Morrison Tech has had a female instructor leading their construction department for twenty-one years. Jan Drosopoulos teaches the newest editions of AutoCAD, MicroStation, Microsoft Office, and Revit available. Her work experience at Altronics in document control, as well as a manager of product design and development aided her in becoming proficient in her field of expertise. Along with teaching, Jan is now utilized as a consultant by area companies; training and educating employees in Inventor and Mechanical CAD. Ms. Drosopoulos is an excellent educator, as well as an outstanding example of what the female element can enhance in a male dominated career option.

Over the years the female population of Morrison Tech has varied in size. This year females make up 5% of the student population. Two current young women who are enrolled at the college are Wendy Nunez and Cassandra Kolb. Wendy, who hails from Chicago, Illinois, chose Morrison Tech as her college in which to pursue a degree in Construction Engineering Technology because it is hands-on (which is how she learns best) and that it is a career that is constantly evolving. This evolution can make it a challenge to stay up to date but Ms. D (as she is called) works to stay current with this ever changing industry. The Construction Engineering Technology field involves a lot of drawing/drafting, CAD, math and science, which Wendy refers to as her specialties.

Cassandra chose the college because of its proximity to home, Rock Falls Illinois.  She chose to attend Morrison Tech with the goal of earning her Construction Engineering Technology degree in the spring of 2019. She is following in her grandfather’s footsteps. Cassandra will also take many CAD, CivilCAD, Revit and Microstation courses with Ms. Drosopoulos.

Recent Morrison Tech graduates are making changes in the industry now. Just a few of our more recent female alumni; Molly Harrison-Willett Hofman and Associates, Jan Alcantara-Mi-T-M, Morgan Haick-Seiberling/A. Haskell Company and Miranda Temple-Sandia National Lab are currently making headway in a typically male dominated  industry.

As we embark on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, STEM skills will be as vital as reading and writing. More importantly, so will skills such as empathy, teamwork and good communication, often considered skills that are more “feminine”. With these competencies in mind, more female engineers are desperately needed to help have a place to revolutionize engineering.