Want to embrace your Women in Engineering experience?
The Women in Engineering (WE) program is a collegewide effort to create an inclusive environment at Texas A&M University. Join project teams, find academic opportunities, and partner with the WE to build your community!
The national average of undergrad women in engineering is a mere 22.5%, with the other 77.5% being male or non-binary. At Texas A&M, we are barely trailing those numbers with 22% women enrolled as undergraduate engineers.
Women who paved the way
If you find yourself doubting if you can be an engineer, the answer is yes, you certainly can. When you have doubts, take the time to look up some of the women who paved the way for us. Lillian Moller Gilbreth was an engineer in the early 1900s. She graduated from Berkeley and Brown University and was the first person to integrate psychology concepts into industrial settings. Grace Hopper graduated from Vassar College and Yale University and is known for pioneering programming languages on early computers. She also served in the Navy and taught computer science on military bases around the world. The first woman to be accepted into any school of science and technology was Ellen Swallow Richards. She gained an education from Vassar College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After receiving two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree as the only woman in her class at MIT, she opened the Women’s Laboratory at MIT for other women to be taught basic and industrial chemistry, biology and mineralogy.
My personal experience
On my first day at Texas A&M in 2018, I remember being nervous and excited. My first class was ENGR 102, Engineering Lab Computation. I walked in late because I could not find the bus stop to take me all the way across campus, and the closest seat I could find was at a table with all boys, who, unlike myself, all had extensive coding backgrounds. Although this was intimidating for me, I did not let this show nor affect the way I saw my peers. I never felt less than them. I worked with them as equals and demanded respect. I passionately believe that the energy you give off will be reflected by those around you. It may be scary and could be daunting, but with a confident and determined attitude, your handiwork won’t go unnoticed.
After pondering this topic and learning more about it, I talked to my fellow women in engineering and this is what they said:
- “At first, a lot of people thought I couldn’t be an engineer because I’m a girl. Once I started taking classes and learned more, I realized if you just try, it’s not as difficult as you may think. People will start to recognize your work effort and think more highly of you.” – Kylie Beal ’21, Electronic Systems Engineering and Technology
- “I have noticed that if you work hard and stand up for yourself, everyone will give you the respect you deserve regardless of your gender.” – Katelynn Kinslow ’22, Petroleum Engineer
- “I think it’s motivating to feel outnumbered in the major as a whole and makes me work harder, but I have never felt at a disadvantage because of my gender in engineering.” – Taylor Douthitt ’22, Industrial Systems Engineer
- “Being a woman in a major with the majority of the students being male can be a difficult environment sometimes. I constantly feel like I need to prove to myself and others that I am good enough to compete amongst my peers. Texas A&M does do a great job at recognizing women in the engineering program and has made great strides towards equality. I am very proud to be a woman engineering major at this university.” – Addison Gordy ’22, Biomedical Engineer
Building a community
Build your community! I highly encourage all the ladies in engineering to make friends and even best friends with the women in your department and field. There are multiple organizations to join outside of the classroom/lab that will help build your network. FREE is a coed freshman leadership organization for engineers only. There are local groups on campus for nationally recognized organizations, such the Society of Women Engineers and Women in Engineering. These organizations are open to all women with a minimal admission fee. The commitment is not overwhelming and is so beneficial. My recommendation is to get involved so you have an amazing community of women to keep you motivated and successful. All the women I have met at Texas A&M across the whole campus have been especially encouraging and supportive of me throughout my academic journey.
Women in STEM are very valued, and we are rising in this field. There are many opportunities for us to be phenomenally successful and impactful on this world; we just have to take them! To the ladies reading, do not be intimidated by the vague stigma you might have heard. You are capable of excelling in this field and surpassing all expectations of the world.