On June 23 we will celebrate International Women in Engineering Day to help raise awareness for women in STEMM roles and to encourage girls to pursue the amazing career opportunities in this exciting industry. The day also celebrates the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world.
As we acknowledge and celebrate this day, we spoke with a few of our female employees to learn about the trends they’re noticing and advice they have for women in STEMM careers.
Laura Hartwig, Principal Mechanical Engineer, has been an engineer for over 26 years (with 19 years at KCSNC) and through her tenure has seen tremendous growth in the number of women in the industry and in leadership roles.
“Early in my career it would not be unusual for me to be the only woman in the room during technical meetings,” Laura said. “Today that situation happens less often and I believe there are opportunities to help improve this representation even more by offering flexibility in career development, especially around managing parenting responsibilities. For example, ensuring women have meaningful progression pathways once returning to work after taking time off to manage family obligations.”
Teri Cline, Senior Mechanical Engineer, began her career at KCNSC and believes involving women in STEMM brings a more well-rounded perspective to the field, noting that diversity of thought brings the best ideas. She did find herself struggling early in her profession with knowing where she could add the most value to her team. To help her overcome this, she learned not to compare herself to others. She found her biggest strengths were grounded in leadership and strategy and appreciates that she can exercise those strengths in her current role.
“I also learned pretty quickly that engineering is a team sport,” Teri stated. “My advice to females entering this profession is to find a trusted group of people to surround yourself with. This tactic helped me get through college and is imperative in my role at KCNSC still today.”
Teri also advises females to take the time to really understand the foundations of engineering by getting their hands dirty. As often as she could, Teri would get into the workshop and weld something just to see how it worked rather than reading it from a textbook.
Robin Stubenhofer, Engineering Vice President, has been in a leadership position for over 35 years and believes attracting more female talent to the engineering sector is vital for economic growth and financial stability. Her advice to women in this industry is to ensure their skillset is well-rounded and always find a mentor to help in career choices. But her most important advice for women is to use their “voice” in the room.
“When you’re working with peers at different leadership levels, your voice can get lost,” Robin said. “Don’t let that happen. Have self-confidence that you’re doing and saying the right thing.”
On this day dedicated to women engineers, we salute our own at KCNSC! Thank you all for your amazing talent on this day and every day!