The word “engineer” has always been present in my life. It was always there because my father is a Mechanical Engineer but also, because unconsciously, it is what I wanted to become since I was a kid. I can recall my first interviews, where I would get this very common question for a recent graduate “why did you study engineering?” and today, ten years after I made my choice, let me answer this question again.
An 18-year-old me decided to study engineering not only because I had the best inspiration and role model at home, or because vocational tests also led me there, but mainly because it felt natural, the right choice and what my intuition told me. Thinking about getting an engineering degree made my heartbeat faster, I considered it (and still do) a challenging career that had already given me and my family everything we had. I realized that I was going to be able to help others by developing solutions for our daily challenges. This made me want it even more.
I will never forget the challenges I’ve faced throughout my career, just like I will never forget the image of me entering college on the very first day, finding that only two out of sixty students were women (including me). I was very surprised because almost all my female friends studied engineering and still it was not enough. On that first day of college, nobody was competing with nobody, but I set the goal in my head to be the best.
After college, another important challenge was finding my first job. I got very frustrated because some job postings stated, “only men can apply.” I had all the knowledge and skills required so I would just apply out of anger. Finally, I got my first job as a Field Engineer during a selection process that specifically focused on rising the number of female engineers on the field. I was hired along with 13 other women who also graduated with academic excellence. Some years later, sadly, I had to leave my country and my job, and it was then that I started struggling to find my way back into the field.
Every time there was an opportunity to go back to the field, I heard comments like “the field is very rough, are you sure?”. I did not like someone deciding for me what is rough and what is not, so I left to take another position that turned out to be a scam. I was hired as maintenance engineer, but I was given tasks for quality engineering. Why? because “women do quality better than maintenance. We made a mistake but liked your profile anyway” I was told. I decided to leave again and luckily at that point I got a call from FieldCore, and if you read until this point you should already know what happened.
After many years of chasing it, I was finally given the chance to go back to the field. It’s been three years now and I couldn’t be happier, because I get to do what I love with other amazing women that are passionate to death about their careers. I get to learn from them and listen to their stories, that ended up being very similar to mine. Working in the field is a never ending challenge that I choose every day because it never gets boring or repetitive. There has not been a day when I haven’t learned something and… to be honest, I love getting my hands dirty.
For me there is no reason why I would not choose engineering again. Therefore, I want to encourage all women out there to follow your heart and intuition, if it feels right, if your heart beats faster when you think about it, go for it. Even though every day more women choose engineering, our fight is not over and there are lots of us still waiting to get that opportunity and when they do, rest assured we’ll have their backs.
Remember dreams come true and most of us are willing to help, listen and share. Happy International Women in Engineering Day!