Celebrating McGill’s Female Engineering Staff
June 23rd is International Women in Engineering Day
International Women in Engineering Day takes place annually, and this year marks its seventh year of recognition and celebration. It is a day to raise the profile of women in engineering and encourages others to consider career opportunities in this line of work. Below are a few spotlights from women in the profession at McGill. They share what inspired them to enter the profession, favorite projects, and advice for those considering entering into the engineering field.
Christine Brown, CPSWQ, CPESC
“I began my career more than 40 years ago with a degree in architecture. The architecture curriculum was in the college of engineering, where women made up a very small percentage. My first job was with a civil engineering firm. The more I learned about the field of engineering, I realized that was where I wanted to be.
My favorite project is a commercial property that started out as one building and one roadway that has now grown into an entire campus with multiple buildings. I was involved from conception, to engineering design, and through construction. It had a large coordination aspect of which I was involved. The team was diverse and included members of varying backgrounds from all over the country. I call it my favorite, due to several factors – first, it is a great representation of multiple aspects of civil engineering site and utility design; second, as the project grew, it presented all kinds of varying challenges; and finally, my major responsibility was the design of multiple stormwater control facilities, which is one of my preferred design challenges.”
MJ Chen, PE, PhD
Senior Project Manager
“I chose engineering from a naïve thought – we only have one earth mother. Choosing environmental engineering is one of many ways to make a difference. One of my favorite projects was a nutrient removal enhancement I worked on at the wastewater treatment plant in Daytona Beach, Florida. I learned that every project is a dynamic process that requires early involvement and cooperation of all disciplines. Teamwork not only means working internally but also working with subconsultants and contractors. Good communication and frequent interactions are keys to many successful projects.”
Alyssa Cohn, EI
“Engineering was a natural fit for me. I remember going to a store to register for wedding gifts, and the sales associate was so surprised that I came with a list of all the items I needed and in what quantities. I am always looking to be efficient.
Currently, I am working on a few water and sewer modeling projects. I enjoy the troubleshooting necessary to calibrate the models. It is quite an achievement to find that one tweak will suddenly allow your model to function.”
Natalie Croom, EI
“As a kid, I always enjoyed taking things apart, figuring out how they work, and putting them back together. As an engineer, now I get to create things and make them better. At McGill, the Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery renovation has been my favorite project so far. It is a unique project and has many intricacies that are exciting to solve.”
Ashley Goddard, PE
“I was advised to go into engineering by a family friend, a retired high school teacher who was familiar with my background and educational strengths. I did not know much about the field, but decided to give it a chance and found it to be a great fit. For those considering engineering as a profession, it has been my experience that people seem to be looking for good employees and strong technical skills. I would advise women to not be insecure about their presence in the field.”
Lamyaa Negm, PhD
“My dad, my hero, used to work in construction and inspired me in engineering as a child. Although we lost him early, I was very determined that I was heading from high school to civil engineering. After many years being in the engineering field, I am confident that I chose what suited me the best.
For women considering the profession, it is crucial to choose the right team and mentors to work with. Engineering demands precision, hard work, and a unique set of intellectual traits. Meanwhile, as a female, you are a mother, daughter, sister, or wife; therefore, your working team is your anchor and will help derive your path towards success.”
Consider Joining McGill
Whether you are just starting your career, looking to grow as a professional, or wanting to find a new, challenging position, we invite you to join the McGill team and help us shape communities. Check out the open positions on our website.