June 23, 2021 marks International Women in Engineering Day. This day brings attention to amazing career opportunities available for women in the industry and celebrates the achievements of women engineers throughout the world.
Baisch Engineering is fortunate to have women engineers on staff and in leadership roles.
Why did these women choose engineering as their career choice? What would they say to encourage other women to become engineers?
A common theme when asked why they became engineers is because they love math, science, drawing and building things. As Jeannine Powell said, “I always loved building things – blocks, Lincoln logs, sandcastles, Legos – there are lots of memories and pictures of me as a little kid building.”
Judy Overton combined a love of math and art, which led her to attend Fox Valley Technical College where she became the first woman to graduate from the program with an Associate Degree in Mechanical Design. Kaylin Van Stappen originally planned on becoming an Architect and was offered a position as a Structural Designer. That led to a love of modeling and data. Kaylin says, “When I get the opportunity to work on 3D concept models and presentation renderings, it doesn’t even feel like work!”
How did these women decide what discipline of engineering to focus on? Some didn’t have to choose just one. Peggy Heling has mostly been an Electrical Drafter but loves drafting in general and has done Process Control, Structural and GIS Drafting. Jeannine was asked by a friend whether she liked Mechanics of Materials or Thermo more; the answer was easy and she focused on Civil Engineering.
These women have sound advice for other women looking to join the engineering world. All agreed that being an engineer is interesting, challenging and offers the opportunity to be in a field where design is constantly evolving. Peggy encourages women to follow their passion, while Judy is proud to say engineering is not just a man’s world any longer. Some of the best advice came from Jeannine and applies not only to engineering, but to life in general. She says, “Don’t be intimidated and don’t let people hold you back. Do not hold yourself back either! Learn from your mistakes. You will make them, but they are only failures if you don’t learn how to do better the next time!”
Thank you to these women in engineering for your continuing contributions to Baisch Engineering and our clients!
Jeannine M. Powell, P.E., Principal, Structural Department Lead and Civil/Structural Engineer
Kaylin L. Van Stappen, BIM Lead and Civil/Structural Engineer
Peggy S. Heling, Process Control Drafter
Judith A. Overton, Process Specialist
Jordan A. Smith, Process Designer
Kelsey M. Ponsegrau, Electrical Designer