national engineering month

5 Female Engineers Who Made History!

TMG is always super eager to remind you that women have been kicking butt in engineering throughout history - this isn't a new thing! Sometimes we all need a little reminder of how powerful women have ALWAYS been, so this week’s blog post is going to give you a mini history lesson by showcasing famous female engineers and their accomplishments over the years.

1. Edith Clarke (1883-1959)

Edith Clarke totally helped paved the way for the future of female engineers. In 1918, Edith Clarke was the first woman to earn an electrical engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Recognized as the first female professor in the United States, Clarke taught electrical engineering at the University of Texas for 10 years.

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2. Emily Roebling (1803-1903)

Another pioneer in the field of engineering, Emily Roebling is one of the first women field engineers. Credited with being at the forefront of one the biggest feats of engineering for her time, Roebling is best known for her role as Chief Engineer during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883. Talk about impressive!

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3. Stephanie Kwolek (born 1923)

Stephanie Kwolek’s invented Kevlar, a stiff synthetic material five times as strong as steel that is found in the production of bullet-proof vests, as well as a whole range of everyday products including safety helmets, camping gear, snow skis and cables. Thank you Stephanie for inventing such a strong and useful material, we couldn’t be more impressed with your invention!

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4. Hedy Lamarr (1913-2000)

Hedy Lamarr is a total superstar who helped crushed stereotypes about women in engineering. When we say “superstar” we mean it literally – Lamarr was known as a star of the silver screen in the 1930s and 40s AND known as one of the women to help invent WiFi – yup, you heard it right – WiFi! How awesome is that?

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5. Mary Anderson (1866–1953)

The next time you’re driving in the rain and are freaking out about not being able to see in front of you BUT you decide to turn on those windshield wipers to help solve your problem of poor visibility, you should think about Mary Anderson, the inventor of the windshield wiper. Talk about a super useful and widespread invention – thank you Mary Anderson!

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Guest Guru: Elizabeth Celentano Talks Engineering!

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It’s my favourite month of the year, and it’s not even my birthday!!! March is National Engineering Month in Canada (check out http://www.nem-mng.ca/)  when engineering professionals nationwide reach out to young Canadians to help them learn about career options in engineering.

What is an engineer?

As defined in the Professional Engineers Act, professional engineering is:

  1. Any act of planning, designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising (or the managing of any such act);
  2. That requires the application of engineering principles; and
  3. Concerns the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment, or the managing of any such act.

What does this really mean?

Well, the first two parts are easy. Engineering principles are basically just a fancy way of saying that engineers use scientific principles and apply them to design solutions to a problem. The last part is about duty to the public. Yes, you heard that right. As a Professional Engineer, you have to act in ways that safeguard and protect the best interests of the public. That can be a super big deal if your company wants one thing, and the best interest for the public is different!

What does this look like in real life?

I went to school for chemical engineering (transforming matter into products we use every day), but my current job is more of an industrial or manufacturing engineering role – this means I work to make manufacturing processes efficient from beginning to end.

On any given day, I could be working on:

  • Developing spreadsheets to track our performance (How much product are we making day-to-day? How are we performing when we change products? Every time we produce a certain product, are we running faster or slower than last time?)
  • Running trials to evaluate our production line’s ability to run new products
  • Proposing improvements to make current products run faster, with less “downtime”, or with less waste

However, I like to look at it as solving problems. Everything I do is to solve some problem, and the solutions I develop utilize all the math and science skills I’ve gained from school and past work.

What about you?

What problem would you solve if you were an engineer?

Leave your ideas in the comments.

Better yet, try this quiz presented by Engineers Canada: http://www.nem-mng.ca/chart-your-course