a communications-major friend of mine wanted to write an article on women in engineering and send me some questions
to answer via e-mail, as you could probably guess the result was a typical go-nuts rant that gave way more information
than she probably needed. But then I figured, after all that work, I might as well post the whole thing here - it
explains a lot about me, I think.
1. How did you get interested in a technology degree?
I was always a math/physics/computer type in high school, but didn't want to
go into any one of those by itself. �Then I was a offered scholarship from
the electronics engineering technology department and had to declare
electronics to qualify for it, so I gave it a try. �As luck would have it, I
loved it - it's a great fusion of math/physics/computer stuff, I've never
thought about changing since. �I think I knew I wanted to go into technology,
I just wasn't sure of the dicipline, taking that first electronics class here
was a total fate thing, it's funny how things like that work out.
�2. What is your major, year in school, minor?
Electronics Engineering Technology
Senior (4th year)
Mathematics & Technical Writing minors
�3. Have you noticed more women in technology classes lately?
Lately? �Perhaps, it sort of ebs and flows. � It's funny, I was told when I
was being recruited here that I "might be in the minority" as a woman going
into my field, which gets my personal understatement of the 90's award. �My
first day of school my freshman year I walk into electronics class to find 19
guys an me. �Electronics isn't easy, about a third of them dropped the class,
but I made it, that alone got me some respect. �That year our department had
one woman per level, I was the "official" freshman one. �By last year, we'd
almost doubled... the prospect of hitting the 10% marker was really exciting,
but we weren't quite there. �I think this year our department has about 70
people and there are 5 girls.
I suppose if you compare the year 2001 with 1950 there's been progress, but
just looking at the last 5-10 years, we're not climbing very fast. �It's
discouraging sometimes, a lot of us are working really hard to get women to
enter technology fields and they're just not taking hold.
For instance, I'm the president of our chapter of Society of Women Engineers
here on campus, and a lot of people seem to think the work we do isn't that
important. �I mean, they've got this opinion of, "If women want to go into
technology, they'll go into technology. �Why do they need help?" �But that's
not how it is. �A lot of women still grow up with the notion that girls just
aren't supposed to be scientific, we can't always see it, but trust me, it's
there. �Plus, we have to understand that technology is taking over our world,
and if 90% of the industry is run by men, that means women have forfeited
their power in the new society being created. �I'm not sure people understand
how serious the situation is sometimes, the whole patriarchial society we've
created is only going to get worse if women continue sitting around, being
happy letting their brothers/sons/husbands change light bulbs for them. �I'm
not saying you need to get up right now and change your major to mechanical
engineering, I just wish people would realize the importance of the movement
we're backing here instead of blowing us off as radical feminists that have
nothing better to do than complain about stuff.
�4. How do you deal with the majority of your classmates being male?
At first I kind of kept to myself because I didn't know anybody. �There was
one other guy I knew from being in the honors college, so he was my lab
partner for about a year, the guys weren't exactly running up to work with
me. �Now that I've been in the program I can express myself a lot more, we're
a really tight department, I don't think other programs understand how close
we all are. �We give eachother a hard time, but I fit in really well now.
I've found the same thing out in industry - the guys tend to band together
and meet each other and want to work together, while I have to work a little
harder to get noticed and get into "the club". �But after that, after I've
proven myself, everything goes great.
�5. Why do you think more women are going into�technology majors?
Well, I think the women that are going into technology for the same reasons
everyone goes into technology - it's interesting work, it's fun to learn,
it's challenging, the job market is incredible. �And you really have the
opportunity to change the world, that's something I didn't realize when I
first went into it, but the technology industry has the ability to turn out
some really exciting things in the near future and being a part of that is